After many hours of deliberation the ANC National Executive Committee has come to a conclusion on the fate of the Free State PEC.
Jeff Radebe made the point that the ANC upholds the independence of the judiciary and accepts the decision of the Constitutional court as final.
The Free State provincial conference has been declared unlawful, null and void. This includes the election that took place in Parys earlier this year. In essence this means that all the Free State delegates who are part of the provincial executive committee will not be allowed to come to the conference, let alone vote. However, this exclusion does not apply to any of the delegates who will attend the conference in their capacity as ordinary members of the ANC.
In the meantime the host province, which is now leaderless, is in the hands of a Provincial Task Team (PTT). The convenor of the PTT will be Sisi Ntombela, who is also the current provincial chairperson of the Free State ANC Women's League. Tate Makgoe will be the secretary and coordinator of the task team. This team will have 20 members and will run the province for the first quarter of 2013.
The now former provincial chairperson of the Free State, Ace Magashule, will form part of the PTT. Magashule will also be attending the 53rd National Conference in his capacity as an elected NEC member. His presence introduces an interesting wild card because even though he did not ace the Constitutional Court ruling, he will still be able to place a vote. This comes as good news to the Jacob Zuma camp because at the end of the day only 20 votes have been lost.
So the verdict is: this round goes to... Jacob Zuma.