Mantashe confirms ANC NEC has decided to appeal KZN judgment

The NEC will launch an appeal to protect the ANC's constitution and not the KZN provincial leadership, Gwede Mantashe says.

The NEC will launch an appeal to protect the ANC's constitution and not the KZN provincial leadership, Gwede Mantashe says.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has confirmed that the party’s senior authority – its national executive committee (NEC) – has decided to appeal the high court judgment that declared the 2015 ANC provincial elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal “unlawful”.

In an interview with Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser on Tuesday morning, Mantashe said that the NEC would launch an appeal on the basis that presiding Judge Jerome Mnguni had interpreted the ANC constitution incorrectly.

In his judgment on September 12 at the Pietermaritzburg high court, Mnguni said that the ANC NEC should convene a special conference (a conference that takes place more than once in a four-year period) if one-third of ANC branches make a request for it.

“... a special conference must be convened at any time by the NEC, but also when requested by a majority of the provinces for a stated purpose or purposes,” Mnguni said in his judgment.

Mantashe said that the NEC would now join lawyers representing the ANC’s provincial structure in KZN, which also appealing the ruling.

Two weeks ago, ANC NEC member Enoch Godongwana said in an email that was attached to court papers that the NEC had not decided to appeal the judgment

But Mantashe, in a U-turn on radio earlier, said that the judge had taken away the rights of the NEC when it came to its authority on special conferences.

“If the court takes away the right of the ANC to take decisions on these matters then it will be a free for all,” Mantashe said.

The secretary general said that there is a growing trend within provincial structures to appeal decisions made in conferences when their favoured candidate failed to be elected into the provincial leadership. With the court’s judgment, Mantashe said, the NEC could see itself forced to hold a special conference every time a faction is unhappy with the outcome of the previous conference.

Rule 17.2.1 of the party’s constitution states that a provincial conference will “be held at least once every 4 (four) years and more often if requested by at least one-third of all branches in the Province”.

Mantashe said, however, that the appeal would not be launched to safeguard the KZN provincial executive committee – the provincial leadership elected at the 2015 conference. Instead, it would be an appeal that concentrates on the party’s constitution. The KZN current leadership is largely believed to be strong supporters of Zuma.

“Our appeal is not an appeal to protect the PEC, it’s an appeal for the court to give the correct interpretation of the Constitution of the ANC,” he said. 

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