Durban – The disciplinary hearing of outspoken African National Congress MP Makhosi Khoza has been postponed to next Sunday, according to ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli.
Speaking to the media outside the ANC KwaZulu-Natal headquarters in Durban on Sunday afternoon, Ntuli said the case had been postponed because Khoza’s attorney Smanga Sithini asked for more time to prepare his case. Sithini arrived at the headquarters 45 minutes after proceedings were set to start at 9am on Sunday morning.
“Her representative, comrade Smanga, told the provincial disciplinary committee that he was only appointed yesterday [Saturday] around 7pm,” Ntuli told journalists.
Ntuli said this was a contradiction to former correspondence between the ANC and Khoza, in which she had told the party she was in consultation with legal representatives as early as July 26 or 27. “But Smanga was only instructed yesterday,” said Ntuli.
“Smanga pleaded for an extension and appealed for more time, which we believe for his own sake was logical. The disciplinary committee reluctantly acceded to the request and the matter will take place on Sunday, 9am at the same venue.”
Khoza was charged in July for, among other things, ill discipline, failing to comply with ANC policy, provoking division, and bringing the party into disrepute, with all but one of these relating to posts she made on her Facebook page.
She has been a vehement critic of President Jacob Zuma and his fitness to lead the ANC. Her provocative behaviour has earned Khoza many critics but has also seen her garner a large and sympathetic group of supporters.
Khoza says she has received death threats as a result of her statements and that the life of her daughter has also been threatened.
Sithini had told the committee that Khoza was not in the province and when she met him on Saturday night she said new threats had surfaced. “As a result of this she said she would not be able to make it to the hearing,” said Ntuli.
He hoped Khoza would take up the committee’s offer to attend a pre-trial conference during the week. The pre-trial was an opportunity to exchange documents and find consensus on certain issues before Sunday, he said.
“The ANC is disappointed that after almost two months, having been informed about the hearing and the date, she still came through her representative today and he was unprepared so the case could not proceed.”
Responding to questions about Khoza’s latest Facebook post on Sunday morning that she would probably be fired, Ntuli said: “Everybody must know that she has not been fired. She has been afforded another opportunity to come back next week Sunday. In addition to that she has been given an opportunity between now and Sunday to come down and meet with the ANC presenters in the pre-trial.”
He said the provincial disciplinary committee had been “very fair” with Khoza and had acted in line with the party’s constitution.
The measures of the committee were not punitive and had been designed to ensure that they restore the discipline of the ANC and that those who transgressed were brought into line using the constitution instead of “emotions”.
Ntuli said it was not usual practice for the party to brief the media when a disciplinary process was taking place, but it had decided to do so in Khoza’s case because of her “appetite for distortion” in the media.