Khoza hearing ‘a futile exercise’
EMBATTLED MP Makhosi Khoza’s lawyer has warned the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to suspend the disciplinary hearing against his client scheduled to take place in Durban on Sunday, describing it as a “futile exercise”.
Advocate Smanga Sethene was adamant yesterday that the hearing should no go ahead, despite the provincial executive committee’s insistence that it would continue disciplining Khoza notwithstanding the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling that the body had been elected unlawfully.
The provincial disciplinary committee comprises chairperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, ANC Women’s League provincial deputy chairperson; Ravi Pillay, the MEC of Human Settlements and Public Works; and Makhosini Nkosi, mayor of Newcastle Municipality, who all have legal backgrounds.
The ruling, delivered on Tuesday by Judge Jerome Mnguni, was in favour of four supporters aligned to former premier and party provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu’s supporters.
The ruling declared that the party had breached its constitution by holding a Pietermaritzburg ANC provincial conference in 2015 instead of 2016.
However, on Wednesday the provincial executive committee (PEC), in defiance of the national executive committee (NEC) decision, announced that it planned to launch an appeal against the court ruling.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had said only the NEC (and not provincial structures) had a right to decide whether to appeal or not.
It is understood that the PEC was expected to meet the NEC today to discuss the appeal.
Party provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli had said the PEC would still continue prosecuting Khoza because the “court nullified the conference, but the PEC can only be dissolved by the NEC and not by the court”.
Sethene disagreed, saying the PEC should abide by the court ruling and cease making further decisions.
There appears to be confusion around whether the PEC can continue with business as usual in the wake of this week’s judgment.
Ntuli said although the committee is part of the PEC structure, it operates independently, and therefore it would continue with the Khoza hearing.
Sethene, who is a card-carrying member of the ANC, had planned to meet Khoza last night to take instruction on whether to attend the hearings.
The disciplinary committee could still continue with the hearing, and could pass a verdict against Khoza in her absence.
“It would be a futile exercise (to continue with the hearings) because the appeal committee of the ANC would effectively set that decision aside as there would an issue of the authority,” he said.
He said he was strongly of the view that the PEC should suspend its operations until it clears its legitimacy, “because one of the charges that Khoza faces is that she insulted the current leadership that has now been dissolved by having said they come clean in court so that they can be regarded as legitimate.
“This is one of the key charges,” he said.
Khoza had protested against having to appear before the committee in KwaZulu-Natal because of threats made to her life, and as a result, Sethene arrived at the hearing without her on Sunday.
Sethene said his client did not attend because of “renewed threats” to her life.
“Otherwise she is prepared to appear before the forum constituted in terms of the ANC constitution,” he said.
He said the ANC constitution provided for a hearing to take place in another conference, should those expected to appear feel that their lives were at risk.
“Alternatively it should be heard by the national disciplinary committee, but I think people are apprehensive because the chairperson of that committee is Derek Hanekom, and he has expressed similar sentiments to Khoza,” he said.