Durban - The legal team for the KwaZulu-Natal African National Congress (ANC) has rubbished an application brought before the Pietermaritzburg High Court to dissolve its provincial leadership, calling the allegations "manufactured".
A rebel group of ANC members has claimed that the party's provincial elective conference held in November 2015 was fixed to guarantee a win for the current provincial chairperson, Sihle Zikalala.
They also claim there were several irregularities that deliberately excluded a faction aligned to ousted former chairperson and KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu.
The rebel group wants the court to declare the election illegal, thereby dissolving the Zikalala-led provincial executive committee and force an election re-run.
The trial has been set down to run for three days. It started on Wednesday.
Acting for the ANC, Advocate Greg Harpur SC, said on Thursday that all the facts raised by the "four lone applicants" who brought the case before the court would not withstand scrutiny.
Standing before a full bench, Harpur said the applicants "can't show that anyone had been deprived from voting".
He said the applicants could only point out discrepancies over various records of who could and could not vote. Harpur said this could have a variety of explanations that were not nefarious.
However, he admitted that the voting roll, which is missing from the court record, would have been able to verify who voted and who didn’t.
“The fact of the matter is that there is no voter’s roll and the court must assess the case on the available evidence.”
Harpur said branches were responsible for verifying whether members vote or not and could have raised concerns about the election process if they so wished.
“If branches felt prejudiced they could have appealed. There’s no record of any such appeal.
“We have a situation where these four lone applicants' own branch executive committees have never complained. How is it possible that these four lone applicants…can come to this court…to have the entire elective conference [cancelled]?”
He said even the accusation of a tweet announcing the results - allegedly sent out 10 hours before the results were officially released - had been withdrawn by the applicants. He called the tweet “fake”.
“The Tweet could have easily been manufactured after the results were known,” said Harpur.
In reply, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said there was sufficient evidence and case law that showed the rights of ANC members who brought the application had been deliberately ignored.
He said even in the ANC’s own version before the court, the call for the elective conference was illegal as the party had failed to obtain the required third of branches, as required by the party’s constitution, to agree to the “convening of the conference”.
The matter continues.