ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala Photo: ANA Pictures

Durban - In an unprecedented move, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to defy protocol and potentially anger its mother body, as the fallout over Tuesday’s high court ruling on the 2015 provincial conference continued to gain momentum.

The province’s party leagues and regions took the opportunity on Wednesday to address the media, in the absence of the nullified provincial executive committee (PEC), and said the national executive committee (NEC) should stay away from its legal wrangles because “none of them was at court to support us when we needed them”.

The PEC want to appeal the judgment of judges Piet Koen, Sharmaine Balton and Mahendra Chetty who ruled that the 2015 Pietermaritzburg conference, which elected Sihle Zikalala as the provincial chairperson against Senzo Mchunu, was “unlawful and void”.  

The provincial structures were reacting to media reports that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had said only the NEC could decide whether to appeal.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo, who is also a member of the ANC PEC, said: “We don’t need the NEC’s permission to appeal. It is the PEC that is in court and this includes comrade Sihle Zikalala and other PEC members.”

Sabelo said that by Wednesday the PEC had been instructed to file an intention to appeal.

He said although the PEC had the authority to make its own decisions, it preferred to listen to its branches and not the NEC.

Provincial ANC Women’s League secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela expressed shock that the NEC was taking an interest in the matter now, “whereas during the court proceedings it was nowhere to be seen”.

“Even when we appealed for support from the NEC, who presided over the conference, they said nothing,” she said.

Mantashe told Independent Media that only the NEC should appeal because “the ANC is not a federal organisation, but is a unitary organisation”.

Dismissing the leagues and regions, Mantashe insisted their call for the PEC appeal was “nonsensical”.

“They cannot do as they please; that is why the PEC knows that, as a matter of necessity, it must leave the decision to the NEC,” he added.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said the PEC would discuss the appeal with the NEC.

Meanwhile, Ntuli said the court ruling would not affect embattled NEC member Makhosi Khoza’s disciplinary hearing, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday. 

He said the hearing would continue because the “court nullified the conference, while the PEC can only be dissolved by the NEC and not by the court”. 

Political Bureau