ANC told to nullify conference result of KZN region or face court action
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Polokwane - In a move that could open the floodgates of legal actions that could hamper the convening of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial conference in March, the governing party has been instructed to nullify the results of the Moses Mabhida (Umgungundlovu) regional elective conference or be dragged to court for a compelling order.
In December 2017, just a few days before the Nasrec conference that elected Cyril Ramaphosa as president, members engaged in a crippling lawfare that saw some regions and provinces’ PECs (like KwaZulu-Natal)barred by courts from attending or voting at the conference.
In a lawyer’s letter from Durban-based Ntanzi Attorney which was sent to the acting secretary-general of the ANC at Luthuli House, Jessie Duarte and copied to KZN ANC chairperson, Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, the disgruntled members alleged that the conference was marred by a litany of irregularities that cannot be overlooked.
The ANC has until Wednesday (12 January 2022) to disband the contested regional structure or face legal action.
BREAKING NEWS: The recently held Moses Mabhida regional conference that got Mzi Thebolla (mayor of Msunduzi-Pietermaritzburg) elected as regional chairperson is being disputed. In a lawyer's letter, the ANC has until Wednesday to disband the structure or be taken to court. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) January 9, 2022
The conference was held on the weekend of 17-19 December 2021 and Mzi Thebolla, the current mayor of Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) was elected regional chairperson, defeating, Mzi Zuma, the current mayor of Umgungundlovu district municipality.
The first point of argument by the branches is that the RTT (regional task team) that presided over branch general meetings had no constitutional authority to do so. This is because the ANC’s constitution stipulates that once the REC (regional executive committee) has been disbanded, the regional conference must be held within six months, if an interim structure is appointed, its term of office should not be more than six months.
The other main gist of the argument by the members disputing the conference is that some 22 branches that were not eligible to participate were allowed to do so. Also allowed to participate and vote despite not being eligible was the regional structure of the ANC youth league.
“The ANC constitution provides that for ’the branches whose disputes have not been resolved they can only be afforded an observer status and cannot be allocated the voting delegate status’. Therefore it is clear that the Regional Conference did not meet the required minimum number of the delegates required to make the conference valid",
"Rule 21.4 of the ANC Constitution states that the Regional Conference shall be composed of voting delegates from branches in the Region, elected in properly constituted BGM."
“The remainder of the delegates at a conference shall be among the members of BEC (branch executive committee), ANC Veteran League, ANC Youth League and ANC Women’s League as allocated by the REC. The decision to afford the Youth League of the ANC a voting status has rendered the outcome of the conference invalid,” reads part of the letter.
In the letter, the offered solution is that a new RTT be appointed to deal with the dispute in branches and a fresh conference be convened. If that fails, the court would be the final arbiter.
“Our client requests your urgent intervention within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter. Failing which we will approach the court to set aside the outcome of the elective conference for Moses Mabhida Region. We place on record that it is not our client intention to haste to court, we will only approach court should there be no positive response from your side.”
The spokesperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, said their major challenge with the letter is that it does not state the names of the members who are disputing the branches, making it difficult to get to the bottom of the matter. He said despite that, since the provincial working committee would meet on Monday, the matter would likely be discussed.