The Durban High Court has declared that the decision by the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) to nullify the KwaZulu-Natal elective conference was legally sound.
The court on Tuesday said the national body of the ANCWL was within its rights to declare the outcomes of the August conference null and void as it had found that the conference was beset by voter irregularities.
In August, the KZN ANCWL elected Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza as its new provincial chairperson and Education MEC Mbali Frazer as deputy chairperson.
Senior ANC councillor Zama Sokhabase was elected secretary, Fikile Masiko, an MP, was elected deputy secretary, and Maphumulo Municipality mayor Matozi Dlamini was elected treasurer.
Khoza narrowly beat Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi to become chairperson.
Immediately after the results of the conference were announced, Sithole-Moloi’s supporters filed a complaint with the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANCWL, claiming that the conference had been rigged.
They claimed that 53 votes were unaccounted for, allowing Khoza to defeat Sithole-Moloi by 601 votes to 598.
Shortly afterwards, the national ANCWL nullified the election results, saying that the allegations of voter eligibility and fraud were credible.
Khoza and other elected leaders then approached the high court for an interim order, calling upon the NEC of the ANCWL to show cause why the nullification of the elective conference should not be set aside.
They also sought an order interdicting and restraining the NEC from prohibiting them from performing their functions and duties as the provincial executive committee of the KZN ANCWL, pending the finalisation of the application.
They also sought an order restraining the NEC from appointing “any interim structure or task team to replace and/or act in the stead of the duly elected PEC pending the finalisation of this application”.
The court said the ANCWL was an autonomous structure and it “was within the powers and rights ... as the body that was seized with the convening of the special conference to devise measures that sought to resolve the degeneration of its organisation to being undemocratic and ineffective”.
In her ruling, acting Judge Nomfundo Sipunzi said: “I am of the view that the applicants have not shown that they were duly elected and that the first respondent acted unlawfully when it resolved and communicated its decisions nullifying the purported conference.
“The applicants are therefore not entitled to the relief sought in the notice of motion.
“When it (ANCWL NEC) resolved to nullify the conference, as the highest decision-making body between conferences, it derived its authority in rule 11.2.4 to ensure that its structures function democratically and effectively.”
Judge Sipunzi said the court was not inclined “to determine how the political party concerned should regulate its internal process in the light of the declaration it had made”.
“It was satisfied that the ANC’s constitution conferred on the NEC or the national conference adequate authority to regulate its affairs in light of the decision of the court.
“It is thus without merit for the applicants to argue that the (ANCWL NEC) is not possessed with the authority to nullify a conference.”
The application was dismissed with costs.
Sokhabase said they would study the judgment, and if any steps were to be taken, they would issue a statement.