Delegates from the Moses Mabhida region, mostly supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, had already gathered on Friday at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg when backers of President Cyril Ramaphosa obtained an interdict from the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
The event was reminiscent of the provincial conference, which was also called off at the eleventh hour after disgruntled members from Moses Mabhida, Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala regions successfully approached the same court to interdict it. The matter will be heard in July.
The secretary of the ANCYL in the Moses Mabhida region, Thembinkosi Zondi, said the use of courts by party members against one another was of serious concern.
“Right now I am seriously confused about what should be done to end these court battles, but I think unity talks should be prioritised. Discussions are in the best interest of the organisation to ensure unity," he said.
Zondi said they held an unsuccessful meeting with their disgruntled counterparts in Pietermaritzburg in an effort to avoid court interdicts stopping the conference.
“But the comrades raised complicated issues such as that they were removed from being councillors in 2016, they were sidelined when it comes to employment and that they were not sufficiently represented in the regional task team,” said Zondi. There was an attempt to continue with the conference irrespective of the court order, but provincial task team co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala ordered them to stop it.
Court applicants in both regional and provincial levels cited gatekeeping as among the reasons they felt that conferences should not proceed.
Zanele Sithole, spokesperson for the disgruntled group, said they had to stop the conference because the provincial and regional leadership had failed to fulfil requirements of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule that they should address all challenges facing regions and the province before they could have the conference.
Despite the interdict, ANC members continued to gather at the stadium between at the weekend.
“They stayed throughout the night,” said Sithole.
Zondi said the delegates remained at the stadium as they were waiting for the provincial task team members, Nhlakanipho Ntombela and Bheki Mtolo, to brief them about the way forward.
A video was circulated on social media of delegates demanding Zikalala address them.
Zikalala declined to talk about the conference issues when The Mercury approached him for comment yesterday.
“The (regional) conference had not sat, but I am not prepared to talk about it with you. Please respect me,” said Zikalala.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment.