The ANC has applied for an urgent court interdict to stop the name, the SA National Convention, being used by the ANC breakaway movement, convention organiser Mbhazima Shilowa said on Friday.

“They are interdicting that we can’t go ahead with the National Convention because they say we can’t use their name,” said Shilowa as delegates registered ahead of Saturday’s convention in Sandton. However, when approached for comment, the ANC said it was only applying to stop the use of the name and did not want to stop the convention.

“The interdict is only against the name,” said ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte.

“The ANC is not vindictive,” she said, adding that the organisers were being mischievous.

Shilowa said he, former ANC chairman Terror Lekota who resigned from the party on Friday, and former defence deputy Mluleki George, receivedsimultaneous SMS messages early on Friday afternoon informing them of the application to the Pretoria High Court at 3.30pm.

They had just been told that Lyndall Shope, director general in the communications department, had resigned from the NEC and the party when they received the news.

They rushed around to find the court papers and confirmed this. During the question and answer session, Shilowa was told that the ANC denied trying to stop the convention.

“I think you can ask them for the court papers. It is a matter of public record,” he replied.

Shilowa said the convention organisers regarded the application as an abuse of the courts and questioned why the application was made the day before the conference.

He said it had only been media speculation that the splinter group intended using the name SANC if they registered as a political party. They had never said so themselves.

He said that had they registered it with the Independent Electoral Commission that would be the correct body to approach and there was a 21-day period in which to do so.

Challenging the name was “laughable” as the SA National Council could also enter the fray.

Asked if he would abide by the court’s decision, Shilowa said it would not be right to ignore the courts, given that respect for the rule of law would be on the agenda over the weekend.

Meanwhile, delegates continued arriving in buses to register for the convention at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The hall to be used will host a wine exhibition on Friday evening and will then be transformed overnight into seating for about 4500 delegates.

Delegates who had not registered would not be let in as there was no space.