Members of the ANC’s various structures – including the ANC Youth League and Women’s League in KwaZulu-Natal – held a media briefing on Wednesday to explain what the court ruling on Tuesday meant for their structures.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday ruled that the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal 2015 elective conference – which elected Sihle Zikalala as chairperson and Willies Mchunu as deputy chairperson – was unlawful and invalid.
However, the youth league’s Kwazi Mshengu said the court ruling did not mean that all decisions taken by the Provincial Executive Council (PEC) led by Zikalala were invalid.
“The ruling said: ‘The setting aside of a principal act does not inevitably in the invalidation of subsequent act’, and in this case, the decision taken by the Provincial Executive Council of the ANC elected in that conference,” he said clarifying that all the decisions still stood.
Mshengu said anyone who wished to challenge the decisions made by the PEC should do it. Not on the grounds that the conference was unlawful, but for other reasons.
“We want to assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal that the decision of the court has no impact on government and its decision and the provincial government remains intact, stable and focused on service delivery under the stewardship of comrade Willies Mchunu,” he said.
He also believed that the rerun of the conference would have the same outcome.
The ANC Women’s League in the province urged the PEC to appeal the court ruling as they believed everything in the 2015 conference was done by the book.
“No one was supposed to complain. We see complaints right now, but no one was supposed to complain. Let them do whatever but we are more than ready as the members of the ANCWL,” it said.
However, spokesperson for the applicants who won the case Sithembiso Mshengu said the current PEC – for the harmony of the ANC – must step down.
“If they don’t want to do so, they are within their rights to try and hold on to office, but then the unfortunate part of that is that branches will no longer accord them the respect they should be having because they have been declared to be unlawful and invalid,” he told Morning Live on Wednesday.
ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others took the provincial party leadership to court in May last year to declare the legitimacy of KwaZulu-Natal’s 8th provincial elective conference, held in November 2015 in Pietermaritzburg, null and void.
The case, which dealt with alleged irregularities in the arrangement, hosting and auditing of the 2015 conference, was brought before the court against the ANC’s sitting provincial executive committee (PEC) by members from 43 so-called rebel branches that wanted the conference declared illegal and a rerun to be held.