Court confirms 'death' of ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership
The earlier order declaring 27-member PEC unlawful is not suspended, and the PEC members will be 'guests' at the elective conference
The unlawful KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) members led by Sihle Zikalala can no longer attend the national conference as members of the PEC.
The High Court in Pietermaritzburg granted an execution order to the members supporting former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman Senzo Mchunu.
The unlawfulness of the 27-member PEC, which was declared by the court earlier this year, is therefore not suspended pending the appeal process.
Leave to appeal was granted to the currently unlawful PEC. If the appeal is successful, it could affect the outcome of the national conference that starts on Saturday.
The KwaZulu-Natal judgment is one of three set for Friday in provincial leadership tussles on the eve of the party's national elective conference. The other two are in Free State, due at 2pm, and in North West.
The court found that the order granted earlier must become immediately operative and executionable, pending the outcome of any appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.
Sthembiso Mshengu, spokesman for the members who won the execution order, told Business Day leave to appeal was granted to Zikalala and the unlawful PEC, but that they would have to petition a higher court.
Mshengu said the PEC therefore did not exist anymore and they would now be "visitors" at the conference in Nasrec.
"Its (the PEC's) death has been confirmed," Mshengu said.
All of the provinces involved in litigation the day before conference is set to kick of, are supporters of presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The outcome of the presidential race lies in the hands of delegates, with branches having already made their nominations.
The battle for the position is in essence a two-horse race between Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In the High Court in Mahikeng, the Bojanala regional conference in North West was set aside, as well as the outcomes of 38 branch general meetings.
Gerald Modise, spokesman for the North West PEC, said they would appeal the judgment handed down on Friday. He said the 38 delegates in question — from the branches in Madibeng, Rustenburg and the Moses Kotane region — did not “yet” have an impact on their overall provincial numbers.
Judgment is also expected at 2pm in the Free State, where four ANC members brought an urgent interdict application to stop the more than 400 Free State delegates from attending the national conference this weekend.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday the judgments would not affect credentials for Saturday.
Four ANC members have taken the provincial executive committee (PEC) to court to have it and the province’s delegates barred from attending the conference.
The highly anticipated conference starts on Saturday. A new president for the party is set to be elected in the coming days, with it mostly being a two-horse race between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The Free State has put its vote behind Dlamini-Zuma.
Hanno Bekker, attorney for the disgruntled members who are backers of Ramaphosa-aligned former Free State deputy chairman Thabo Manyoni, said judgment would take place at about 2pm on Friday.
The members also want the results of the Free State provincial conference declared null, void, unlawful and unconstitutional.
They asked that the respondents, which include all of the PEC members in the province who were on the PEC before the new leadership was elected, be declared in contempt of court, and that they should show cause within 20 days of granting the order, why they should not be imprisoned for being in contempt of court.
Bekker said the applicants had abandoned the request to have the results and decisions of the provincial general council declared unlawful and unconstitutional, as it would have no bearing if the outcome of the provincial conference was set aside, since there would be no leadership in the province to implement the decisions and results if their prayer was granted.