Pietermaritzburg – ANC councillor Lawrence Dube, who is also the main applicant in the High Court case against the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, called for the provincial executive to immediately exit office.
“I would like to see this [provincial executive committee (PEC)] out as of today. They are unlawful,” Dube told journalists outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday following a judgment which had ruled in his favour.
The ruling related to the results of the ANC’s 2015 KwaZulu-Natal elective conference in which aggrieved members emerged victorious when Judge Jerome Mnguni nullified the legitimacy of the conference.
Dube and four others had brought the matter against the ANC in May 2016. They were challenging the results of the conference, which saw Sihle Zikalala replace former premier Senzo Mchunu as the provincial chairperson.
During the conference, Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu got 675 votes, in a process where 1 459 delegates voted. Disgruntled members claimed the results were rigged.
“I feel relieved. Today the court has proven that we had legitimate reasons for coming to court.”
The ANC in the province has, however, indicated that it would challenge the court’s decision after studying the judgment.
Dube said the PEC should not bother with the courts, saying the ruling had proved that both the party’s and the country’s constitutions had been broken during the elective conference.
‘I pray to God that this bloodshed stops’
He said that taking the matter to higher courts would be a waste of money and resources.
“If I were them, I would sit down to negotiate with whoever, rather than taking it to court. It is a useless exercise.”
KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli told News24 just as Dube and his colleagues had seen it fit to bring the matter to a court of law to “resolve their grievances”, they too should be allowed to use the same court process to see if another court would come to a different conclusion.
When asked if he feared there would be more political killings because of a perceived leadership struggle, Dube said he placed his faith in a higher power.
“I pray to God that this bloodshed stops. Whoever has been doing these killings [must] come to their senses. They know wrong is wrong. I pray we stay in peace and stability in our province.”
Outside court, ANC supporters were nowhere to be found, but at least 1 000 people came out to support Dube and his colleagues.
The high profile case has seen thousands turn up to support the warring factions in the province.
However, outside court on Tuesday only supporters of Dube and his colleagues were spotted.
In his judgment, Mnguni listed certain irregularities, verification by branches of membership rolls, inadequate time for appeals, a tweet, as well as a “70% rule” as some of the reasons why he had reached his decision to declare the results of the conference unlawful and invalid.
Some of the irregularities include:
– Branches were not furnished timeously with pre-audit membership rolls to ensure that all members of branches had been correctly captured;
– Branches were not given an adequate opportunity to appeal against the results of the audit, thus resulting in some branches being excluded from participating in the provincial conference;
– Branches were excluded from being accredited, which meant that the credentials report was adopted at the conference while appeals were pending or underway, and that branches that had appealed successfully were not accredited at the conference;
– That the voting process or results appeared to have been manipulated or influenced.
Mnguni also found that the KwaZulu-Natal ANC PEC had failed to locate the voters roll used during the party’s 8th provincial elective conference in November 2015.
“Regarding the mislaid voters’ roll, the answering affidavits simply records that: ‘The respondents have attempted to locate the voters roll, but have been unable to do so’.”
Mnguni said he found this to be unfortunate, as it may have clarified certain issues.
Despite this, there was still no proper explanation of how the roll came to disappear in the first place, “nor is there any explanation of what efforts have been made to try and locate it”, he said.
He also found that some ANC branches which were qualified to attend the conference had been denied the right, through their delegations, to participate in and vote at the conference.
Mnguni added that the “70% rule” – which means that a conference can be convened if there is a minimum of 70% of the branches that have successfully completed all steps in the pre-process, did not assist the respondents in respect of the irregularities he had already found.
The voting process, in respect of the province’s “Top 5” positions began on the evening of November 7, 2015.
However, according to court papers, while the voting process was underway, a “tweet” – allegedly from the party’s official Twitter account @MyANC, sent at 22:23 – reflected that 1 459 delegates had voted, with 675 choosing Senzo Mchunu and 789 voting for Zikalala.
It recorded that “Sihle is the Chairperson”, the court papers read.
The voting process was only finalised at about 03:00 on November 8, 2015. This was followed by the counting of votes, which was finalised at approximately 09:30.
“The coincidence between the results contained in the tweet and the actual result of the voting is indeed remarkable,” Mnguni said.
He also also ruled that the respondents must pay one half of the applicants’ costs of the application, with “such costs to include costs of two counsel”.