Disgruntled party members from the Moses Mabhida, Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala regions were locked in closed-door negotiations in a desperate attempt to reach common ground before their court case on Thursday.
The party’s eighth provincial elective conference last month in Empangeni was interdicted by the high court after disgruntled ANC members, who claim to represent 44 branches out of 88 in the Moses Mabhida region, had gone to court to stop the three-day conference, which had been due to start that afternoon, from going ahead.
The ANC task team led by Sihle Zikalala and Mike Mabuyakhulu were meant to file opposing affidavits by Tuesday, but they said they were determined to settle the matter out of court.
Mngomezulu said it was crucial for the matter never to reach the courts, as the ANC was becoming notorious for ending all discussions in court.
“The matters ended up in court, with it even bypassing party protocol at times, and that put the ANC in a very bad light,” he said.
The negotiations between the delegates went on for hours, until late last night, but Mngomezulu said it was expected as “the ANC is divided from the top”, and the feud among the aggrieved branches was due to the factions within the party.
“It is very difficult to come up with a balancing act and satisfy both factions. That is why it is taking longer,” he said.
Mngomezulu said that with the 2019 elections looming, the ANC could not allow the court to take control of the negotiations, because court processes took time.
“They want to deal with this soon and then focus on canvassing for the elections,” he pointed out.
Demands made by aggrieved party members from the Moses Mabhida, Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala regions include issues of gatekeeping, sorting out membership lists and dealing with political killings in the province.
The Moses Mabhida region - who were the main applicants in the case - wanted ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma excluded from the regional task team, and a reshuffle of the mayor, deputy mayor, municipal manager and speaker at Msunduzi Municipality, a source said.
The new task team also had to have a balance of forces of pro-Zuma and pro-Ramaphosa delegates, which included at least eight delegates from the aggrieved members who brought the case.
They also wanted to include four external ANC members who did not belong to a faction in the team, the source said.