ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference violated party’s constitution, court hears

Lawyers for the ANC members challenging the November 2015 election of the party’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee say the elective meeting was held without the approval of one third of its branches, as required by its constitution.

They also claim that delays in getting the case to court are a result of President Jacob Zuma’s failure to fulfil a promise to deal with their clients’ complaints — that the conference had been rigged — within five days of his meeting them in December 2015.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, counsel for the five ANC members who brought the high court application to set the conference result aside, told the Pietermaritzburg court on Wednesday morning that the conference should have been held in May 2016. Instead, the provincial executive had decided to hold it early, in November 2015, but failed to secure the backing of a third of the branches to do so.

Ngcukaitobi said the decision usurped the power of the branches to call an early conference, a mistake which was “fatal’’.

Members of the sitting executive, including chairperson Sihle Zikalala, secretary Super Zuma and deputy chairperson Willies Mcuhu, sat in the gallery watching intently as Ngcukaitobi accused their previous legal team of ‘’cynical’’ attempts to delay the case.

The challenge to their election has been brought by supporters of ousted chairperson Senzo Mchunu. ANC Vryheid councillor Lawrence Dube and branch members Sibahle Zikalala, Martin Mzangwa, Mzweni Ngcobo and Lindiwe Buthelezi claim the outcome of the conference was rigged by Zikalala’s faction. They also claim that the process leading to the conference was manipulated to load delegations from the province’s 800-odd branches with pro-Zikalala delegates.

Ngcukaitobi said that after the conference, the applicants had appealed the outcome and met Zuma and other members of the ANC top six in Umhlanga on December 12 2015.

‘’He said he would respond after five days. He never did so,’’ Ngcukaitobi said.

The applicants, he said, then wrote to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe through lawyers to express their dissatisfaction. When they received no positive response and the ANC national executive committee confirmed the result, they had no choice but to go to court.

Supporters of both factions have gathered outside the court, with a row of armoured police vehicles separating them. There were tense moments at lunchtime when Zikalala’s supporters tried to force their way into the court precinct.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

The demon of cronyism in the public service must be crushed

When employees do not give their best, it is the organisation that suffers the most. In the case of government this directly affects citizens

Sitting targets and lame ducks

Everybody’s staying pozi, which is making all the arrests easy for the Hawks. Only Ace is desperate to be seen

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

South Africa requires a different vision than the ANC’s

In response to Ryno Geldenhuys’s piece Under Mbali Ntuli the DA would offer South Africans a new political home, published in the Mail & Guardian on 13 October

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Vitamin therapy is for drips

It may be marketed by influencers, but intravenous vitamin therapy is not necessary and probably not worth the hype, experts say

Facebook, Instagram indiscriminately flag #EndSars posts as fake news

Fact-checking is appropriate but the platforms’ scattershot approach has resulted in genuine information and messages about Nigerians’ protest against police brutality being silenced

Murder of anti-mining activist emboldens KZN community

Mam’Ntshangase was described as a fierce critic of mining and ambassador for land rights.

Unite with Nigeria’s ‘Speak Up’ generation protesting against police brutality

Photos of citizens draped in the bloodied flag have spread around the world in the month the country should be celebrating 60 years of independence

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday