The High Court in Pietermaritzburg has ruled that the results of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s 8th provincial elective conference in November 2015 were unlawful.
The high-profile case has seen thousands turn up to support warring ANC factions in the province.
It was brought by ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others in May 2016 following results which saw former premier Senzo Mchunu being ousted as provincial chairperson and being replaced by Sihle Zikalala.
They claim the conference was not only held prematurely, but that it was riddled with irregularities and the results were rigged.
Speaking to the Republic Mail, an Independent Political Analyst, Molifi Tshabalala said, “[w]hile the judgement itself is inevitably subject to an appeal by the Sihle Zikalala’s camp, it has serious ramifications for the ANC both at a provincial level and a national level.”
“Especially in the run-up to the 54th national conference. At the provincial level, it means the incumbent Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), which the court has declared unconstitutional, cannot, for example, proceed with its disciplinary hearing against the outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza for bringing the party into disrepute over her remarks against President Jacob Zuma,” said Tshabalala.
“Khoza can go to court to seek a declaratory order that the PEC is unconstitutional and therefore cannot discipline her,” he said.
ANC Elective Conference
“At a national level, the judgement puts Zuma at a precarious position to reconstitute a cabinet reshuffle, if he has intended to, without a support from his main factional stronghold, KZN,” Tshabalala said.
There were claims that this court ruling may force the ANC to postponed the conference to be held in December to allow court appeals for both camps to conclude. ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe has since dismissed these claims.
However, according to Tshabalala, “the ANC may be forced to postpone the conference until the Zikalala faction has exhausted [all] legal avenues. This has tilted a scale of factional power towards the Senzo Mchunu’s camp, more so, if the party put an interim structure.
“This would require an intervention from the national body.
“The question begs itself as to whether the ANC KZN is ready to hold an elective conference before the 54th national conference would depend on audited list of branches from the national level, a process that is still underway.
“In other words, the ANC would have to order the Zikalala faction to stop an appeal and go for conference, which is very unlikely at this junction as the stakes are high, including the political killings in the province,” conclude Tshabalala.
Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu got 675 votes, in a process where 1 459 delegates voted.
Zikalala, his deputy Willies Mchunu, the ANC itself, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, and other top ANC figures are the respondents in the matter.