The African Independent Congress (AIC) is going into the election campaign with just R3 000 in the bank and without a leadership structure – following a high court ruling that dissolved its national executive.
The party, which walked off with 0.53% of the vote in 2014 and became kingmakers in the Ekurhuleni municipality in 2016, is hoping that enough contributions will come through to enable it to contest on May 8.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday set aside and declared invalid the AIC’s elective conference which took place in April last year.
“The second national congress of the first respondent held on 27 to 28 April 2018 at Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, and its decisions and resolutions are declared unlawful, invalid and, as such, are hereby set aside,” the judgment reads.
Warring factions between the party’s president Mandla Galo and deputy president Lulama Ntshayisa have been at odds over the credentials leading up to that conference.
Ntshayisa insisted that proper protocol was not followed, including the establishment of a national preparatory committee ahead of the conference.
Ntshayisa told City Press that Galo was within his rights to appeal the damning judgment but that he would have to do so with his personal finances.
Ntshayisa claimed that the Galo faction’s use of party funds to sponsor the legal challenge had left the coffers empty.
As of Friday afternoon, the official party account was said to be left with just R83.
The account has since been bolstered by the contribution of a councillor’s tithe, bringing the current tally up to just less than R3 000.
The party will need just less than R600 000 to contest the national elections, as well as each provincial election.
Ntshayisa said that the party was hoping that private funders would sponsor theparty and help put together the necessary monies.
The ANC had cried foul against the AIC, saying that the majority of the 97 642 votes the party had garnered belonged to it, arguing that the similarity between the two names had confused voters.
Having lost the major metros of Tshwane and Johannesburg to opposition-run coalitions, the governing party was able to save face when it brokered a deal in Ekurhuleni with the AIC.
The main condition for the coalition agreement with the AIC was the return of Matatiele to KwaZulu-Natal, the demarcation dispute over which the AIC was formed, but the ANC is yet to make good on that promise.
Ntshayisa said he hoped the Galo faction would be willing to meet with the winning side to map a way forward, including the launch of the party’s manifesto, as a matter of urgency.
“If they are not willing to come together and meet us, then we will go ahead and compile our own list and submit it.
“The court did not provide a way forward in terms of what must happen with the leadership going forward, so I think it is up to us to come together and sort things out. Failing that we will resort to the leadership we had before the conference and operate in that way until we can go to conference after elections.”
Galo did not respond to calls for comment from City Press.