The slew of court cases about issues within its own ranks has forced the ANC to get back to basics and enforce its constitution and procedures.
Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe said many of the cases taken to court had a legitimate basis because the party’s constitutional processes were not followed.
But, he added, there was also the reality that some of the legal cases brought forward involved ANC members being manipulated or sponsored.
Most of the cases brought to the courts related to problems over elective conferences in the provinces before the national conference last year.
Hlope said it was not a surprise that, since the ANC decided to follow the proper processes and work according to party constitution, the party had begun to score important victories against disgruntled members who challenged it in court.
Hlophe highlighted that the recent court losses by unhappy members in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the earlier one in the Eastern Cape were due to ANC’s strategy to avoid hostility with the disgruntled members and instead follow procedures to deal with their grievances.
Hlophe said in all the cases, it was proper that Luthuli House allowed the unhappy members to go to court.
He said the actions were not in vain but were necessary to bring the ANC to its senses about the importance of using its constitution and following all the necessary processes in its affairs.
The expert was referring to the nullification of last year’s elective conferences by high courts in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State and the disbandment of their respective provincial executive committees after disgruntled members approached the courts.
Hlophe said in both instances the cases by the unhappy members were solid in substance and lodged on time – hence they won the matters in court.
“The lodging of these cases was not in vain because whoever wanted to manipulate ANC processes in future would think twice,” Hlophe said.
But in the Eastern Cape, dissidents failed to convince the courts to nullify the October 2017 provincial conference because proper processes were followed – despite the fist-fights and “festival of chairs” brawl among delegates at the gathering held in East London.
Many of the cases that came before the courts in the past few months were justifiably thrown out by the courts because they lacked urgency and were not strong on substance.
“Those who lost the recent cases lost on technicalities and not on substantive issues. That tells you that they did not give the matter deep thought as they were in a hurry to put a challenge in court,” Hlophe said.
He added that the previous cases “forced the ANC to follow procedures and process properly. It had realised that the litigations were taken over by opportunistic forces. Besides, the courts might have picked up that some of these members were being manipulated or sponsored.”