Jessie Duarte Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - The ANCs’ national dispute resolution committee is expected to meet with KwaZulu-Natal party members who prevented the provincial elective conference from taking place, including all branches that had raised grievances.

“We will first meet with the provincial leadership to get a full briefing of what had been said in court, we need to study the ruling by the judge and go back to the branches to do a review,” committee chairperson Jessie Duarte said last night.

The conference was abandoned after the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled in favour of an application brought by members of the party from Moses Mabhida, Harry Gwala and the Lower South Coast regions.

They had argued that the processes leading up to the conference were marred by irregularities and that numerous disputes had not been resolved.

Duarte argued that the committee’s mandate was not to deal with appeals that are relevant to conference matters but to look into matters pertaining to membership.

“Where people claim they have been left out of the membership system, that is the role we have to play and find out and help where we can. Appeals that are relevant to conference matters are left to the provinces or appeals committee in that province,” she said.

But in the court papers filed by the six members, they believe that in preparation for the conference, many issues were left unresolved, including “issues of membership authenticity, gate-keeping and violence”.

Some of the matters raised in the court application include appeals lodged by branches that had failed the audit, or those appeals lodged by members who felt that branch general meetings had been fraught with irregularities.

Membership verification forms part of the audit process, as only branches with more than 100 members qualify to be represented at ANC conferences, while BGMs are a prerequisite to any conference, as they also serve to elect delegates to the conference.

“We went to the province, we met these regions, we met branches and we had done all the work.

“What we are now going to do is a review to look back if we had not done things well enough,” Duarte said.

But she claimed that “individuals taking the party to court are not necessarily from a branch that had problems” and the party committee will meet with them to “understand their role”.

The Mercury