Senzo Mchunu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Senzo Mchunu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The participation of the illegal ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) in KwaZulu-Natal in the party’s national elective conference in December, would taint the outcome of it and render it "unconstitutional", supporters of former provincial premier Senzo Mchunu submitted in court papers filed on Tuesday.

A group of Mchunu-aligned ANC members took the PEC to court and successfully managed to have the results of the 2015 provincial elective conference where his opponent Sihle Zikalala was elected as leader of the province declared as null and void.

Mchunu is campaigning for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the party while Zikalala is backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The group filed papers in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday to ask the court to strip Zikalala and his PEC of their decision making powers, pending the outcome of their appeal of the earlier judgment.

The group of rebels who support Mchunu are now opposing the unlawful PEC’s appeal of the High Court judgment, which dealt a devastating blow to the leadership in the province.

In a founding affidavit deposed by Lawrence Dube for the rebels, he asks the court for an order that the judgment and order of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court of September 12 2017 shall "immediately become enforceable and executable, pending the application for leave to appeal and any subsequent appeals either to the Supreme Court of Appeal or to the Constitutional Court."

Dube states that the PEC does not have standing as a legal person within the ANC constitution, and that they have had no confirmation that the National Executive Committee (NEC), the highest decision making body of the ANC between conferences, took a resolution in which it was decided that the PEC has the authority to bring the applications for leave to appeal.

He said the NEC statement delivered by secretary- general Gwede Mantashe following a special NEC on the matter, made it clear that the judgment is respected and that it was decided that a provincial task team must be appointed to unify the province.

Dube said given the "extraordinary power of the PEC," it is vitally important that it must be lawfully constituted.

"If the very body that is responsible to oversee the nomination of delegates is unlawful, the nomination of the delegates will itself be unlawful," Dube said.

He emphasised that 870 of the delegates at the national conference would come from KwaZulu-Natal, making it the biggest province. He said the PEC would itself be participating in the conference and that the original court order, which declared it null and void, might be upheld in the appeal.

He said if the current unlawful PEC took part, it would be an irreversible outcome affecting the whole ANC, not only Kwazulu-Natal.

"It would be untenable to require a review of the national conference after the event, bearing in mind the financial, administrative and political cost that attaches to it" Dube said.

He also added that the ANC remained the majority party in government and that it was likely to retain that position in 2019, and that decisions at the conference therefore impacted South Africa as a whole.

"It is vitally important that the national conference should not be beset by question marks over its legitimacy," Dube said

He said, given international investor interest in the conference, that if the conference results are seen as illegal if the PEC in its current form took part, it would create uncertainty in the markets.

With Natasha Marrian

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