ANC leaders in KZN clinging to discredited election results, court hears

2017-11-30 18:37
Sihle Zikalala (Picture: Beeld)

Sihle Zikalala (Picture: Beeld)

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Pietermaritzburg – The current KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) is clinging on to a discredited 2015 election, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard on Thursday.

"Why do they cling to the 2015 election, which the court has ruled was unlawful and invalid?" asked advocate Wim Trengove, SC, for the so-called rebels.

Trengove argued that the current KwaZulu-Natal PEC should have accepted that the November 2015 provincial elective conference was null and void, and "should have called another conference".

The case was brought by ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others in May 2016‚ after the November 2015 conference saw former provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu being ousted and replaced by Sihle Zikalala.

The court has reserved judgment in the matter.

The applicants claimed that the conference was held before the four-year period had lapsed, as per their constitution. They also claimed the results were rigged.

"Why not adopt the obvious solution and call another conference?" Trengove argued.

PEC appealing court order

He submitted that, after the court ruled in September that the 2015 election was invalid, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) had accepted the court order and "they said there would be a re-run of the election".

He argued that the case was likely to only end in 2019.

"By that time, the current PEC's term of office would have expired a long time. They must move on and choose new leadership, instead of clinging to a discredited election," said Trengove.

He said the applicants would suffer from harm as long as the current PEC was in office.

"There's really no prospect at all that another court would come to a different conclusion," Trengove insisted.

The PEC is appealing the court order to nullify the November 2015 election.

Advocate Greg Harper, for the KwaZulu-Natal ANC PEC, argued that there were no voting irregularities that proved that officials in the PEC were invalidly elected.

Arguments over rules

"Applicants are unable to prove anything to the contrary," said Harper.

He also argued that the court had never said that the PEC had to move out of office.

He submitted that there was no decision taken by the party's NEC to dissolve the current PEC.

When asked if the grant of leave to appeal was refused, Harper said they would try in a higher court.

Harper also argued that the November 2015 conference was not held prematurely.

He said, according to rule 17.2.1 of the ANC constitution, the PEC had the power to call a provincial conference at a local level if the NEC approved it.

"The rule says, at least every four years, the PEC can call a provincial conference once it is approved by the NEC," he said.

He reiterated that "at least" meant that it could be called more than once in the four-year period if there was a need.

'Current PEC is null and void'

He said the branches had the power to call another conference, in the four-year period, if they felt hard done by in a previous conference.   

"The conference can also be called if one-third of the branches feel bereaved," he said.

Trengove argued that there were no branch requests for a conference in November 2015.

He submitted that the conference should have been held in 2016, since the previous one had taken place in 2012.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the applicants, argued that the court had declared the whole conference, and its results, null and void.

He said that meant all decisions taken at the conference were invalid.

"The current PEC is null and void. It has no right to remain in office. That's why my clients want the current PEC to vacate the office," he said.

Unlike previous days, supporters of the two factions were not bused into the court. There were only about two hundred people outside court on Thursday.

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte was also in court during the proceedings.

Read more on:    anc  |  durban

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