Ap­peal or no ap­peal – rul­ing puts ANC in a big mud­dle

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - SAMKELO MTSHALI

THE ANC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee’s (NEC) ap­par­ent dither­ing on whether or not to ap­peal against the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court’s judg­ment – deem­ing the 2015 Kwazulu-na­tal elec­tive con­fer­ence un­law­ful – has been de­scribed as a cri­sis and a state of con­fu­sion.

The NEC held a spe­cial meet­ing in Pre­to­ria on Fri­day with the dis­cus­sion whether or not to ap­peal at the top of the agenda.

Gwede Man­tashe, ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral, said the party would make a de­ci­sion in three days, this is now ex­pected on Tues­day.

Po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors said the events of Fri­day con­firmed the ANC was in a se­ri­ous gov­er­nance cri­sis.

Con­sti­tu­tional Law ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Shadrack Gutto said the ANC was in a con­fused state and could not pro­vide a co­her­ent view from the sec­re­tary-gen­eral’s of­fice, the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) or even the NEC.

“It is in a pe­riod of se­ri­ous cri­sis of gov­er­nance within the party

and I think that needs to be ad­dressed. I don’t know how, be­cause if they don’t the ANC is go­ing to suf­fer se­ri­ously in the 2019 elec­tions.” Gutto said ap­peal­ing would have a se­ri­ous im­pact on the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence.

“Time is run­ning out for them to be able to re­view that judg­ment or send it for ap­peal and get a rul­ing be­fore De­cem­ber.

But what­ever the ap­peal court rul­ing, act­ing on it could take place only much later, said Gutto.

If the ap­peals court af­firmed the High Court de­ci­sion, the ANC would be in a co­nun­drum. It would need to cor­rect the prob­lems it was fac­ing, be­fore 2019.

An­other po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, Pro­fes­sor Su­san Booy­sen, said the NEC might be tak­ing its time with mak­ing a de­ci­sion be­cause KZN was a highly con­tested area and there was am­bi­gu­ity be­tween the au­thor­ity of the pro­vin­cial and na­tional body, de­spite the NEC be­ing the high­est de­ci­sion mak­ing body.

“They have to main­tain the peace and they have to try to get some peace go­ing for­ward. There’s a lot of at­tempted rec­on­cil­i­a­tion that they’re try­ing to map out.

“They are also look­ing at de­tails of the le­gal as­pects as well, as it is a pretty se­ri­ous le­gal is­sue and they would have to make sure that they don’t throw away time and re­sources by ap­peal­ing,” said Booy­sen.

It could be “very con­tro­ver­sial” if the PEC de­cided to ap­peal and then lost, as they would have burned a lot of bridges.

An­other po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, Im­raan Buc­cus, said the dy­nam­ics in the prov­ince crit­i­cally in­formed how the na­tional dy­nam­ics played out, par­tic­u­larly in the lead-up to De­cem­ber.

“I think it (the NEC’S awaited de­ci­sion) re­quires a great deal of de­lib­er­a­tion and there prob­a­bly is go­ing to be a se­ri­ous at­tempt by them to reach a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion rather than go the route of ap­peal­ing against the court’s de­ci­sion.

“The NEC is tak­ing a longer time in or­der to de­lib­er­ate more and I would think that they would be mov­ing to­wards seek­ing a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion like was al­luded to last week,” said Buc­cus.

Buc­cus doubted that the NEC would go the ap­peal route be­cause the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of that would be a lot more dif­fi­cult to deal with.

Buc­cus said the po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion would be to form a Pro­vin­cial Task Team (PTT) with the Senzo Mchunu and Sihle Zikalala camps ac­com­mo­dated in a power shar­ing deal.

“The counter ar­gu­ment from the Zikalala fac­tion could be that you chose to go to court when we said let’s come to­gether and talk about this, why should we not go the le­gal route in terms of the ap­peal,” Buc­cus said.

Man­tashe on Fri­day said the party ac­cepted the court’s judg­ment, but the NEC needed fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion from le­gal coun­sel to gain clar­ity on rule 17.2.1 of the ANC con­sti­tu­tion. This would de­ter­mine if they would ap­peal or not.

Man­tashe said the NEC had tasked the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) to es­tab­lish a strong, in­clu­sive and uni­fy­ing PTT which would be tasked with pre­par­ing for a pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in KZN which had to take place within nine months.

“The NEC does not be­lieve that the ANC should con­tinue to give rea­sons to the court to in­ter­vene in mat­ters of the or­gan­i­sa­tion which should be man­aged po­lit­i­cally by the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The NEC must take charge of the chal­lenges fac­ing the move­ment and deal with them de­ci­sively,” Man­tashe said.

Cur­rent ANC KZN sec­re­tary, Su­per Zuma said they re­spected the NEC’S stance.

“If there is a prospect of suc­cess then we will launch an ap­peal and if there is no prospect of suc­cess in an ap­peal a PTT will be put in place,” said Zuma.

GWEDE MAN­TASHE

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