Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Disgruntled members of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, who three weeks ago interdicted the party’s provincial elective conference, have refused to abandon their case in favour of negotiations.

A section of the ANC’s membership in KwaZulu-Natal applied to the High Court in Pietermaritzburg just hours before the start of the provincial elective conference on June 8.

The court ruled in their favour, forcing the ANC to turn the gathering into just a consultative meeting. The interdict prolonged the uncertainty that comes with a province being without a permanent and duly elected leadership.

Those who took the legal route come from branches in Moses Mabhida, Harry Gwala‚ eThekwini and Lower South Coast regions‚ which are deeply divided between pro-President Cyril Ramaphosa supporters and those who stood with former president Jacob Zuma ahead of the party’s national elective conference.

Expulsion threat

A team led by ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte held a two-day meeting with warring ANC structures on Friday and Saturday to try and iron out differences. But they failed to convince the disgruntled members from abandoning their case, despite threatening them with expulsion for taking the party to court.

Siyabonga Hlongwa, one of the leaders of the disgruntled ANC members who went to court, said they were happy to be given an ear by the ANC’s national leadership. "We are happy to be given a platform to air our views and discuss the problems such as gatekeeping, intimidation and others at the branch levels. We had a list of grievances that we gave to the team led by the DSG [deputy secretary-general] and they took notes. We are now awaiting a report on the way forward."

Hlongwa denied claims of the existence of a Third Force that was encouraging and funding ANC members to take the governing party to court.

"We are not funded by anyone but ourselves. We are legitimate ANC members and we are known. We want the ANC to return to its roots, where fairness and principle were the order of the day. We don’t want to hurry to the conferences when there is gatekeeping and delegates are bought to vote in a particular way," Hlongwa said.

ANC national spokesman Pule Mabe told Business Day on Monday that Duarte had met ANC structures, including disgruntled members in the Moses Mabhida region. He said the ANC was waiting to be briefed on these meetings.

Provincial task team co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala and convenor Mike Mabuyakhulu were not available for comment on Monday.