KZN ruling boosts Cyril
● Analyst says a divided province will weaken NDZ’s push for presidency ● Losing faction hints at appealing judgment
Lawyers representing the winning faction of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal are ready to apply for an enforcement order should the provincial leadership decide to appeal.
Following the blow to the provincial leadership under Sihle Zikalala, the ‘losers’ were set to meet last night to look at the judgment and talk was they plan to appeal it.
Judge Jerome Mnguni yesterday ruled that the ANC’s 2015 provincial elective conference was unlawful.
The ruling renders the election of the party’s top five and 25 members of the provincial executive committee null and void – effectively overturning their election and leaving the party rudderless.
Sowetan established that the lawyers representing the winning faction would push for Zikalala and his executive in the ANC to be out of office while they appeal.
Should they succeed, the move will force the ANC at national level to appoint an interim structure.
While the so-called “ANC rebels” celebrated outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court following their victory, another man, several hundred kilometers away, would have been quietly smiling to himself.
That man is presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa, who could emerge the unlikely beneficiary of yesterday’s ruling which, effectively, renders the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal leaderless and in disarray.
And with the province among the biggest backers of Ramaphosa’s strongest rival for the party’s top job, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, any instability in the province could prove decisive.
This is the view of KwaZuluNatal political analyst and researcher Thabani Khumalo.
The ruling came after complaints were lodged by a faction supporting ousted chairman and former premier Senzo Mchunu who lost to Zikalala in a bruising battle.
The application was led by Vryheid councillor Lawrence Dube and four other ANC members representing 43 branches. They went to court in July last year asking for a rerun of the election, citing various irregularities.
The KwaZulu-Natal ANC said it was studying the judgment and was also considering an appeal.
The party’s youth and women’s leagues have called a press conference this morning.
Khuma lo said that with more and more ANC branches beginning to back Ramaphosa, the court’s decision – which could result in fewer delegates from KwaZulu-Natal at the December conference – throws the presidential race wide open.
But, he said, this was also a decision that threatens to widen already clear fractures within the party and will weaken it in December.
Ramaphosa could be the one who benefits from this.
“What this outcome does is add to the acrimonious relations that already exist between those who support Mchunu and those who support Zikalala.
“For Cyril, this has boosted the morale of his supporters in KwaZulu-Natal. You will now likely see many others coming out in support of his cam- paign,” said Khumalo.
“This has clearly sent a loud message. Unlike the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal will not go to the elective conference with an influential voice.”
But KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said it was not over for the executive committee, of which he is a member. They were expected to meet later yesterday.
“We will discuss this outcome and we will consult with the NEC to determine our next course of action.”
Hinting at an appeal, he added: “It’s very possible that another layer of our courts will arrive at a different decision.”
However, despite the likelihood of an appeal, Ntuli said the party would reconvene the conference if instructed to do so by the NEC.
‘ ‘ Many others will come out in support of his campaign
Senzo Mchunu’s supporters outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court following the outcome of the court case.