ANC rebels want court to act quickly as they take on mother body

15 August 2017 - 16:42 By Nathi Olifant
A file photo of the ANC flag.
A file photo of the ANC flag.
Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

Upbeat rebel ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal seeking to force a rerun of the so-called “rigged” 2015 provincial conference want their matter speedily dealt with - but will be happy for the court to apply its mind to the facts and information before it.

“Court matters are never rushed so we will put no pressure to the judges as they need to properly apply their minds and examine facts‚” the applicants' spokesman‚ S’thembiso Mshengu‚ said.

Mshengu was speaking ahead of the three-day trial set to start in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday. The case could start with a trial within a trial‚ after ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma filed papers earlier this month wanting alleged “new allegations” contained in the supporting affidavits filed by the rebel branches struck from the case.

Zuma’s legitimacy‚ that of provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala and 38 other ANC leaders is being challenged by a slate aligned to former premier Senzo Mchunu‚ who lost the controversial conference held in Pietermaritzburg in November 2015.

Zuma filed the motion on August 2 effectively asking the court to set aside the bulk of the additional issues raised by ANC Abaqulusi Municipality councillor Lawrence Dube and four other ANC members representing 43 branches who went to court last June to ask for the rerun.

He argued that‚ instead of providing further detail‚ the applicants have introduced fresh issues‚ including a challenge to the conference date and the ratification of the result by the ANC national executive committee. Zuma’s motion asks that the additional issues be struck from the case.

Mshengu said the applicants’ case was solid and said this will be evident when the trial begins.

“We will exhaust our arguments… from Wednesday‚” he said.

The application to have the conference nullified was brought in July last year on the eve of the local government elections. It was a move that almost threw the ruling party’s provincial election programme into disarray. The application was brought by 43 ANC branches loyal to Mchunu.

They claim in court papers that the voters’ roll was manipulated to favour branches that backed Zuma and Zikalala‚ who ran together on a slate opposing Mchunu. They also claimed delegates from branches backing Mchunu‚ including Dube’s branch‚ had been prevented from attending the conference and voting.

Dube and fellow applicants Sibahle Zikalala‚ Martin Mzangwa‚ Mzweni Ngcobo and Lindiwe Buthelezi say the results were tweeted on the @myANC Twitter handle while voting was in progress and that the outcome had been predetermined by officials loyal to the current ANC leadership.

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