Mchunu: ANC must face the truth

This week sees the long-awaited high court process on whether the ANC’s 2015 pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in KwaZulu-Na­tal should be nul­li­fied

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Ousted KwaZulu-Na­tal premier Senzo Mchunu says this week’s much-an­tic­i­pated court pro­ceed­ings will of­fer the ANC a chance to re­store jus­tice and fair­ness within its ranks. The case, which has dragged on for more than a year, will be heard by a full Bench of judges in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court this week.

Ap­pli­cants are seek­ing to have the 2015 ANC pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence, which saw Mchunu be­ing re­placed by cur­rent chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala, nul­li­fied.

The con­fer­ence left a once-con­sol­i­dated prov­ince deeply di­vided be­tween those who sup­ported Mchunu and those who backed Zikalala.

Speak­ing to City Press this week, Mchunu said the case was a sim­ple one that cen­tred on the griev­ances of ANC mem­bers.

“At its core are is­sues that were raised by branches and that were not re­solved, and I think in the main it is a call for us in the ANC to bring about in­ter­nal jus­tice, in­ter­nal fair­ness and pre­pared­ness of lead­er­ship at all lev­els to lis­ten to who­ever,” he said.

“So, whether the case is won or lost by who­ever, that is not a big is­sue. The is­sue is: Why must mem­bers of the ANC feel that the only way to deal with con­flict is to go to court when mat­ters could have been re­solved? Courts are not nec­es­sar­ily a di­vider in the move­ment. By the time you go to court, it shows that you are al­ready di­vided.”

Speak­ing for the ap­pli­cants this week, Lawrence Dube, from KwaZulu-Na­tal’s Abaqu­lusi re­gion, ex­pressed con­fi­dence that they would be vin­di­cated. Dube and other ap­pli­cants have ar­gued that there were ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the run-up to the con­fer­ence, and at the con­fer­ence it­self, which saw the cur­rent pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) elected.

Dube said they had used a pre­vi­ous case, in which ANC mem­bers in the Free State took the or­gan­i­sa­tion to court over their pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in 2012, as a blue­print for this case. He said a prece­dent had been set by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, the high­est court in the land, when it ruled in favour of the ANC mem­bers who had taken the PEC to court. “I doubt that a lower court would choose to make a judg­ment which con­tra­dicts the high­est court,” he said. PEC mem­ber Mdu­miseni Ntuli ex­pressed the view that the PEC stood a good chance of win­ning the case, say­ing mem­bers were con­fi­dent that their case was “wa­ter­tight”. He added that they looked for­ward to bring­ing an end to the con­flict, which was a con­stant ir­ri­ta­tion in the prov­ince, and that the court judg­ment would bring a wel­come res­o­lu­tion. The court pro­ceed­ings take place just four months be­fore the ANC heads to a na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence. Mchunu’s sup­port­ers in the prov­ince be­lieve that the cur­rent PEC was im­posed on them by a fac­tion in the ANC – of which Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma is said to be a part – which wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to suc­ceed the pres­i­dent.

They say the cur­rent PEC was placed there to pre­pare the ground for a clean sweep for Dlamini-Zuma.

Mchunu’s sup­port­ers, as well as the former premier, have thrown their weight be­hind Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa for the top job. A win for ei­ther side would be ad­van­ta­geous for the pre­ferred can­di­date be­cause KwaZulu-Na­tal will bring the largest del­e­ga­tion to the De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence.

A PEC mem­ber, who asked not to be named, told City Press that the com­mit­tee doubted that the court would choose to undo ev­ery­thing the cur­rent PEC had done, par­tic­u­larly ad­min­is­tra­tively, as too much time had passed since it was elected.

The mem­ber said that such dras­tic ac­tion would desta­bilise the ANC ahead of a major con­fer­ence in a very volatile prov­ince.

Asked if he was ready to take up his old post as chair­per­son of KwaZulu-Na­tal should the court al­low it, Mchunu said that was the ANC’s call.

“It will be up to the ANC to de­cide what hap­pens next. The ANC must as­sess the out­comes of the court ac­tion and de­cide from there. I do not be­lieve that the court will make all of the decisions for the ANC on who must or must not be the lead­ers. It will give space to the ANC,” he said, adding that the case had elicited the poi­son­ing of ANC mem­bers and struc­tures in the prov­ince. “Peo­ple who find them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where no one is will­ing to lis­ten, and who end up in court, are say­ing they are con­vinced that a wrong was done and that they want the ANC to face the truth in­stead of dy­ing on the in­side. This will as­sist the ANC. The ANC will have to re­visit the matter with­out fear or favour. They will have to face the truth and set aside fac­tions,” Mchunu said.


What rul­ing should the court make that will unite a di­vided KwaZulu-Na­tal ahead of the ANC’s na­tional con­fer­ence?

Sihle Zikalala

Senzo Mchunu

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