PAC contender vows to take battle to court

Image: File

The Electoral Commission (IEC) may have declared Mzwanele Nyhontso as the legitimate leader of the PAC, but the fight for control of the party is far from over, with Narius Moloto vowing to legally challenge the decision.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo announced on Tuesday that Nyhontso had been declared the rightful leader of the PAC.

Nyhontso and Moloto have spent years in a bitter factional battle for control of the party – and by extension, who occupies the solitary parliamentary seat.

Moloto told the Daily Dispatch he would be challenging the IEC’s decision.

“That is rubbish. It’s unlawful and illegal. The IEC has no authority or power to declare a person a legitimate leader of a party. Nyhontso is not a member of the PAC, so he cannot be its leader,” he said, adding that the IEC had handed the PAC to a “renegade”.

But IEC operations deputy CEO Masego Sheburi said: “The IEC is enjoined to register political parties and to maintain a register of parties so registered. Part of this responsibility entails that party particulars must be current.

“Consequently, political parties have an obligation in terms of the law to notify the IEC if certain information pertaining to the party has changed.

“The PAC has given notice to the IEC that, following its conference held in Bloemfontein at the end of August 2019, the details of its party leader had changed. It [the PAC] further instructed the IEC to amend its records to reflect the change.

“The IEC, acting in terms of its obligation in law, has given effect to the request and in the normal course communicated this to the party.”

The Centane-born Nyhontso said the issue of the PAC’s legitimate leadership was now a matter of the past.

Extending an olive branch to Moloto’s faction, Nyhontso said he would work towards unifying the deeply divided PAC.

Speaking from his PAC office on Tuesday morning, Nyhontso said he had hit the ground running.

“For 13 years, we have been at each other’s throats with factional politics being the order of the day because one person has held the PAC to ransom.

“But today at last, the PAC has been given a lifeline. We are now breathing a sigh of relief,” he said, adding that they were now focusing on rebuilding the PAC ahead of the 2021 municipal and 2024 general and provincial polls.

Nyhontso called on Moloto’s faction to “come back home” and work with the IEC-declared legitimate structure.

“Even Moloto, if he wants to repent, can write to the secretary-general and apologise and we’ll take it from there. But as things stand, he’s expelled.

“We are extending an olive branch to the people he misled – those who believed he was the rightful leader of this organisation.

“We are making a call to them to go back to their branches, because surely they were not subscribing to an individual, but to the PAC,” he said.

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