PIETERMARITZBURG - A representative from one of the aggrieved regions has said the "embarrassing episode" that saw the KwaZulu-Natal ANC elective conference halted could have been avoided if the provincial leadership had listened to members' grievances.
The much awaited elective conference has been halted following the successful application by disgruntled party members in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday evening.
Judge Jacqui Henriques ruled that the matters brought by the applicants from three regions in KZN needed to be attended to so that the conference is not tainted.
The applicants argued that a number of key issues needed attention before the provincial conference including:
- the exclusion of some members through questionable branch general meetings;
- the lengthy delay in addressing appeals which meant that eligible members would not attend the conference; and
- questions on whether the delegates attending the elective conference met the 90 percent threshold required to hold such a gathering.
ANC counsel Vinay Naidoo argued before the court that the urgent application amounted to a marketing gimmick as the applicants knew days ago that the conference would take place but brought the court action at the eleventh hour.
The case was heard at 3pm. But the applicants through their representative Cameron Benton said they had realised that the conference was continuing following a meeting of the provincial structure on Monday.
He added proceeding with the conference with questionable credentials would have dire implications, citing incidents of killings especially in the Moses Mabhida Region as an illustration of what happens when matters are not resolved.
After a break of nearly an hour the judge ruled that given questions raised by the applicants the conference should not proceed as it would be tainted.
In the aftermath of the decision, Siyabonga Hlongwa said "the embarrassing episode could have been avoided, if the leadership had listened.
"Some of the matters have been dragging on for years, and leaders chose to ignore them, that is why we are here today," said Hlongwa among the crowd of ecstatic supporters.
KZN ANC Youth League (ANCYL) chairperson Kwazi Mshengu meanwhile, expressed disappointment with the court ruling, labelling it frivolous.
He cited the short time in which the ruling party was expected to respond as an illustration of prejudice.
"The ANC was given little time in which to deal with the matter, the matter was brought in the afternoon and the team had to come with responses in a short space of time " said Mshengu who was in court with Sihle Zikalala.
Zikala and eThekwini Region chairperson would not grant interviews and simply walked passed the jubilant crowd that sang pro-Cyril Ramaphosa songs after the court ruling.
African News Agency/ANA