The African National Congress will use the next three days to get legal counsel on the correct way to navigate KwaZulu-Natal before dissolving the provincial executive committee (PEC) that was declared unlawful by a full bench of judges of the Pietermaritzburg High Court, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday.
“Let me tell you, the reason we have been given three days to get the senior counsel opinion is because within three days we must appreciate whether this decision is appealable or not. For all intents and purposes, then the PEC is going to be dissolved, that’s is why we are talking about a [provincial] task team. Once you dissolve the PEC, you have the task team,” Mantashe said.
“There is urgency on the party of the ANC to go to a [provincial] conference as soon as possible, to have a PEC that is legitimate in place, and to ensure that the process is overseen by a team that is seen not to be biased to try and bring the various interests together.”
He addressed reporters at the end of a special meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) of the governing party.
Mantashe said the NEC mandated the national working committee of the party to establish “a strong, inclusive and unifying provincial task team” which will be tasked with preparing for a provincial conference in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The NEC does not believe that the ANC should continue to give reason to the courts to intervene in the matters of the organization, which should be managed politically. The ANC must take charge of the challenges facing the movement and deal with them decisively,” he said.
In a landmark ruling on September 12, the court pronounced that province’s 2015 elective conference results were invalid, and also declared that the conference which installed Sihle Zikalala as the provincial leader of the province, was invalid.
The party has 15 days to lodge an appeal against the ruling. The 15 days lapsed on Tuesday.
Numerous ANC heavyweights, including President Jacob Zuma, were at the Saint George Hotel on Friday, where the top structure of the governing party, the NEC was holding a “special meeting”.
In the 2015 conference, then ANC provincial chairperson Mchunu, was defeated by then provincial secretary, incumbent chairperson Sihle Zikalala and it paved the way for Mchunu’s subsequent removal as KZN Premier in 2016. Some MECs were also removed along with Mchunu in what was seen as purge.