Now move beyond the ruling
THERE was some jubilation outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday after the judgment nullifying the ANC’S provincial elections seemingly won by the Sihle Zikalala camp in 2015.
Supporters of the camp that lost were perhaps justified in celebrating their victory this week, but everyone needs to be reminded that the war is not over.
Fears of heightened tensions that may lead to violence must be taken seriously. Enough politically-related blood-letting has been witnessed in this province.
The ANC’S leadership needs to do something before it’s too late. With its national elective conference around the corner, there should be no doubt how little time is left for decisive action.
So what now for the losers, winners and the national leadership?
Our view is simple. Every personality has a right to a defence in court – including taking a court decision to a higher level if granted permission.
However, even after the ruling that may be sought from the Supreme Court of Appeal is finally delivered – which will not be any time soon – the glaring internal problems will still be there, if not worsened.
The leadership and its structures have powers and responsibilities vested in them by the constitution to take decisions in the organisation’s interest. There is nothing to stop them initiating their own processes and taking steps to deal with the problems which threaten not only the party but peace and stability in the the province and country.
It was therefore reassuring to hear words such as “dialogue” uttered after the judgment. Negotiations are what brought us the relative peace and stability we have enjoyed since the democratic dispensation of 1994.
Some saw in the ruling an opportunity to deal decisively with long-festering problems in the party. These are a source of angst for many of its members, veterans and supporters, who are increasingly questioning the meaning of their sacrifices and their voting since 1994.
Those watching from the outside should also be concerned as such crises will have a negative impact on our young democracy.
The courts can be important arbiters on complex disputes but can never be a substitute for negotiations and true leadership. It was good to see leaders from different camps together mourning at umzimkhulu councillor Sindiso Magaqa’s funeral. Perhaps the warring factions can still get together for talks.