Phumulo Masualle.    Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Phumulo Masualle. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

The battles among ANC structures in major provinces continue to rage this week, with the losing Eastern Cape camp expecting that the conference at which former chairman Phumulo Masualle was ousted could be nullified.

Masualle and his allies met the ANC’s national officials on Monday and are said to be confident that the party’s top leaders were sympathetic to their cause, which could see the recent elective conference in East London invalidated.

On Wednesday, the officials are expected to meet the winning bloc, led by Oscar Mabuyane, whose election as chairman at the September conference was a boost for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential bid.

The developments in the Eastern Cape emerged on Tuesday as a group aligned to Senzo Mchunu in KwaZulu-Natal filed papers opposing an appeal of the high court judgment declaring the election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma backer Sihle Zikalala and his provincial executive unlawful and invalid. The Mchunu group put up a fierce argument in court papers about the risk posed to the legitimacy of the ANC’s national conference in December should Zikalala and his provincial executive stay on.

The Mchunu-aligned group have asked the court to enforce the judgment immediately pending the outcome of any appeal — or place the ANC’s national conference and SA’s political stability at risk.

On the Eastern Cape matter, sources aligned to Masualle’s backers said on Tuesday they were confident that the outcome of the elective gathering would be nullified after the ANC’s top officials heard their complaints on Monday. Two sources said the expectation was for the former provincial executive to continue running the Eastern Cape; or for a provincial task team to be put in place and for the elective conference to be reconvened early in 2018.

The group said that Mabuyane and his leadership were “chased” out of Monday’s meeting. However, according to newly elected provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukaitobi, the Mabuyane group was not chased out, but were asked to excuse themselves as the officials wanted to listen to the “complainants” disputing the outcome of the conference.

Ngcukaitobi said the officials had yet to listen to their version of events, which they had undertaken to do.

“Therefore, it was impossible to have a decision to nullify the conference.

“In addition, that is not a decision the officials can take, they can recommend, but the final decision must be taken by the ANC’s national executive committee,” he said.

The next national executive committee meeting takes place on the eve of the national conference in December — unless a special leadership meeting is called to discuss and decide the Eastern Cape matter.

He also expressed confidence that the newly elected leadership could prove without a doubt that their election was above board.

“Absolutely nothing can justify nullifying that conference,” he said.

Luthuli House could not be reached for comment.

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