Warring KZN ANC factions set for another high court showdown

06 November 2017 - 15:58 By Bongani Mthethwa
ANC factions in KwaZulu-Natal will square up against each other in court next week.
ANC factions in KwaZulu-Natal will square up against each other in court next week.
Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

The two warring ANC factions in KwaZulu-Natal will square up against each other in court next week in another legal showdown over the disputed 2015 provincial elective conference.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has set aside Monday next week for the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) and the so-called rebels who took them to court for oral presentations.

This follows a decision by the PEC to appeal the high court judgment which rendered their victory during the conference null and void.

The PEC’s decision to appeal the judgment has been backed by President Jacob Zuma and other members of the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

But so-called rebels have said they are expecting nothing less than a pronouncement from the judges granting them the execution of the order.

During a media briefing in Durban on Monday‚ both the spokesman for the applicants‚ Sthembiso Mshengu‚ and former Ilembe Mayor and convenor of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign (CR17) in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Vukani Mdabe‚ were convinced that the court outcome in the appeal will be in their favour.

“We are expecting nothing less than a pronouncement from the judges granting us the execution order. We hope the defendants for once will not find excuses as they know that they shouldn’t be in office as almost all of them are being nominated in their manipulated BGMs (Branch General Meetings) as delegates‚” said Mshengu‚ reading from a statement.

The applicants — who represent 43 branches — will not only be challenging the appeal but also want the provincial task team installed and the PEC dissolved.

But the PEC is standing its ground‚ with ANC KZN secretary Super Zuma telling the media last week the NEC had decided to support their appeal which means the 30-strong PEC remains in charge pending the outcome of the appeal.

Mshengu and Mdabe also criticised the ANC’s national leaders‚ led by Zuma‚ for failing to resolve the dispute and for allowing what they call an “illegitimate” PEC to appeal the high court judgment. “The national officials led by the president of the ANC met with the members of the ANC from all regions in the province on October 2 to discuss the political approach on the decision of the September 12 High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

“The officials undertook to come back within a reasonable time‚ especially as we requested them to be considerate of the time factor towards the nomination process for the national conference. It is exactly four weeks without any sight of the national officials‚” said Mshengu.

He accused the ANC NEC of failing to keep to its word once again.

“It is not surprising that the illegitimate PEC stripped some regions‚ including the Lower South Coast of its political powers to manipulate conference processes‚” he said.

Mshengu also revealed that they were delighted with the positive outcome of branch nominations in the province over the past three weeks‚ especially in the regions like the Far North‚ Abaqulusi and Inkosi Bhambatha.

However‚ he pointed out that regions like eThekwini‚ Moses Mabhida and Harry Gwala have seen “unprecedented acts of hooliganism and outright fraud in the branch general meetings where members with valid membership are removed from the roll of members”.

“The guidelines are not followed where deployees do not adhere to procedural matters such as branch chairperson presiding over the nominating process‚ fifty-plus-one of members present in the meeting. In many on these branches we have lodged grievances with the electoral commission‚” he said.

He said the guidelines further instructed that the BGMs would be supervised by members of parliament‚ MPLs and the NEC but these were allegedly presided over by members of the ANC Youth League and other people who did not belong to any structures.

Despite these allegations Mshengu said they had so far secured 157 nominations in the province for CR17 and they were hopeful that going to the last week of the nominations “we will do even better given the very difficult political conditions we operate under.”