THE Constitutional Court has ordered that the merits of an application by six African National Congress (ANC) members in the Free State, who claim the provincial executive committee was fraudulently elected, should be heard next Thursday.

The court also set deadlines for filing opposing affidavits and written arguments.

The court’s order is likely to disturb the Free State’s submission of its list of voting delegates to the ANC elective conference in Mangaung in December. The names of the voting delegates should be submitted by next Monday.

The ANC national executive committee had set down the deadline of November 30 as the deadline for all provincial nominations to be submitted.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said written reasons for the order he gave on Wednesday morning would be provided in due course.

This is a victory for Mpho Ramakatsa and five others, who approached the Constitutional Court on Tuesday after the Free State High Court refused to hear their application in which they sought an order stopping ANC provincial chairman Ace Magashule and 24 others from acting as the legitimate members of the provincial executive committee.

The six claimed that the process leading to the provincial election was manipulated and abused, and that the resultant election was not free and fair.

However, the high court dismissed their application on October 26. When the high court gave reasons on November 13, it said it had not considered the merits of their application because of procedural defects and irregularities, including the failure to serve the papers properly on the elected members.