KwaZulu-Natal ANC members, who challenged the results of the party’s 2015 provincial conference and won, are likely to suffer harm, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled on Friday.
“The harm to be suffered by the applicants far outweighs that to be suffered by the first to thirty-seven respondents [PEC] in their capacity as political office bearers, which I do not consider irreplaceable,” Judge Rishi Seegobin said.
Seegobin granted an application for leave to appeal, brought by the PEC, which is led by chairperson Sihle Zikalala.
However, he effectively ruled that the PEC would remain dissolved pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal and any subsequent appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Seegobin said, although the court decided to grant leave to appeal, it has expressed reservations about the prospects of the success of the appeal.
“I am satisfied that the applicants have established exceptional circumstances, in particular [with] regard… to the time it will take to finalise this matter,” Seegobin said.
Seegobin added that the applicants stand to “suffer irreparable harm by comparison to the third respondent [Super Zuma] who will only suffer financial harm which can be remedied by delictual action if the respondents are successful in their appeal”.
This ruling means that the now dissolved PEC, which supports ANC presidential candidate Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will lose its 27 voting rights allocated to each province for the ANC’s national elective conference.
They can however attend as observers or as branch delegates if elected by their branches to represent them at the conference.
Aggrieved KZN ANC members legally challenged the results of the party’s 2015 provincial conference and won. The PEC opposed the judgment and launched an appeal.
Member Lawrence Dube and four others lodged the court case against the ANC in May 2016.
The members challenged the results of the conference that saw Zikalala replacing former premier Senzo Mchunu in the position of chairperson.
During the elective conference, Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu received 675, in a process in which 1 459 delegates voted.
In the wake of the conference, and Mchunu’s ousting, disgruntled members, believed to be his supporters, launched appeals demanding that the conference be nullified, as they believed it had been rigged.