THE ruling by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg declaring the results of the 8th KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial elective conference as unlawful and invalid will have serious consequences for the national conference in December, according to political analyst Levy Ndou.
He said although the ruling throws a spanner into the works of the ruling party’s biggest voting province, presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be worst affected.
Ndou said the ruling puts into question the credibility of those who nominated and backed her. KwaZulu-Natal has been leading chants for her to replace President Jacob Zuma as party leader in December.
“This leadership has never taken serious decisions [since assuming office]. I wanted to leave Nkosazana Zuma out of it but it means she was being supported by people that got into power illegitimately. That then touches on the credibility of the people that are supporting Nkosazana Zuma. She is being supported by fraudsters, people who rig conferences, that will have an impact,” said Ndou.
The provincial leadership was taken to court by ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others following the conference that saw former provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu dethroned. He was replaced by Sihle Zikalala but his victory was marred by controversy.
Certain branches and people complained that the conference was held prematurely and that it was full of irregularities. The results were also questioned. Zikalala had received 780 votes with Mchunu getting 675.
It was claimed that the results were rigged. Ndou added that the ruling also casts serious doubts on the current ANC top leadership and national executive committee (NEC) members for failing to listen to members who brought the matter to their attention.
He added that it laid bare for all to see that the organisation is besieged by factions. “This becomes a blow not only to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, it’s a blow to President Zuma who gave a blessing to this leadership. “Lastly, it’s a blow to the ANC NEC because this matter was brought to the NEC, 43 branches complaint and the national leadership did nothing about it. That means the ANC was being led in KwaZulu-Natal by an illegitimate leadership. It’s a confirmation that there are serious factions in the ANC and if it can’t deal with factions decisively the ANC is going to be divided. The ANC must be able to listen to its branches and deal decisively with the concerns that are being raised by branches,” said Ndou.
Looking ahead to the conference, Ndou said the province would be under severe scrutiny to ensure what transpired at the provincial level does not take place nationally. He said that will leave the provincial delegation seriously frustrated. He added that Zikalala himself would be under microscopic watch from now on.
“It is going to frustrate KZN as a province because it says whatever delegates KZN takes to the conference, they will have to be closely scrutinised because of such a behaviour. It is a huge blow not only to the ANC but the current chairperson of the province because he has been running it illegitimately. It will mean whatever he says now beyond the judgement, people are going to perceive him as a person that got to power illegitimately,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said the judgement would be discussed during a Provincial Executive Committee meeting before deciding on a way forward. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, on the other hand, said they had noted the ruling and would study the judgment as delivered and “interact with their structures on the political ramifications of the decision prior to placing the matter before the appropriate political platform for a decision on the way forward”.
It’s not the first time that the party has been rocked by such a scandal before an elective conference. In 2012 a similar thing happened in the Free State. A task team was set up to represent the province at the conference.
Ndou though indicated that the two cases were setting a bad precedence within the organisation. “ If you get this type of concerns raised and a court rules in favour of those who raise them, this has a potential of creating a trend in the ANC in which the smaller number of branches or members who are not satisfied with a process will take the ANC to court.
“In the main, this is about factionalism in the ANC which the current leadership couldn’t deal with because they thought it was survival based,” he said.