The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal leadership will appeal against this morning’s high court ruling that the outcome of the November 2015 provincial conference, which elected it, is unlawful.
Mdumiseni Ntuli, spokesperson for the provincial executive committee, said in brief interview on the steps of the high court in Pietermaritzburg that the committee would file a notice of its intention to appeal the judgement within the next 15 days.
Judge Jerome Mnguni delivered the order in a 66-page judgement in a matter of minutes, declaring that the conference and the decisions taken at it were “unlawful and void”.
The application was brought by Vryheid ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four other ANC members on behalf of 29 of the ANC’s branches in the KwaZulu-Natal. They asked the court to set aside the conference decision, saying the process running up to it had been rigged, as had the result of the election. They argued that legitimate delegates were barred from attending the conference, at which the faction led by then chairperson Senzo Mchunu was ousted.
Mchunu was later recalled and MECs loyal to him purged from the provincial cabinet.
Neither chairperson Sihle Zikalala, the first respondent in the case, nor secretary Super Zuma, respondent number two, were present at court. Instead Ntuli and ANC Youth League chairperson Kwazi Mshengu faced the media.
Ntuli downplayed the effect of the judgment, saying that all the “comrades who have been deployed to government” would remain there. Decisions taken by the provincial leadership would, stand because they had not been challenged at court by the applicants.
“Nothing changes. The comrades who have been deployed to government remains in place. The cabinet remains in place. The centre will continue to hold.”
Ntuli said the provincial working committee would meet tonight after studying the judgment and would, “in all likelihood”, appeal the judgment. In the meantime the committee would remain in place, despite the ruling that it was not legitimately elected.
The court found that there were a series of irregularities in the run-up to the conference.
Branches were not furnished with voters rolls on time to allow for a proper membership audits;
Branches were not given proper time to appeal against the outcome of audits;
Branches were excluded from being accredited and those which appealed were given a proper hearing;
The voting and its results appeared to have been “manipulated or influenced”.
It also found Zikalala and his fellow respondents were not able to explain the disappearance of voters rolls, which they failed to provide to the court.
‘’This is most unfortunate as it might have clarified certain issues. However, how it came to disappear is not explained, nor is there any explanation of what efforts have been made to try and locate it,” the judgment read.
Supporters of Mchunu staged an impromptu rally outside the court, singing in support of him and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.