ANC warned to sus­pend hear­ing

The Mercury - - NEWS - Bon­gani Hans

EM­BAT­TLED ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­ber 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 not go ahead de­spite the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee’s in­sis­tence that it would con­tinue dis­ci­plin­ing Khoza, de­spite the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court rul­ing early this week that the body had been elected un­law­fully.

The pro­vin­cial dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee com­prises its 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.

The rul­ing de­clared that the party had breached its con­sti­tu­tion by hold­ing a Pi­eter­mar­itzburg ANC pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in 2015 in­stead of 2016.

How­ever, the PEC on Wed­nes­day and in de­fi­ance of the 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) has a right to de­cide whether to ap­peal or not.

It is un­der­stood that the PEC is 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. “Once a court has de­clared a struc­ture to have been elected in­con­sis­tent with the (ANC’s) con­sti­tu­tion, that struc­ture ceases to have any ju­ris­dic­tion to ex­er­cise author­ity over any per­son.”

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 as sched­uled.

How­ever, a se­nior ANC mem­ber, who is also an MPL, said the fact that the com­mit­tee was ap­pointed by the PEC and re­mains a part of its struc­ture means it was af­fected by the court rul­ing un­til the PEC of­fi­cially files ap­peal pa­pers.

Sethene had planned to meet Khoza yes­ter­day to take in­struc­tion on whether or not to at­tend the hear­ings.

The dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee could still con­tinue with the hear­ing and could pass a ver­dict against Khoza in ab­sen­tia.

“It would be a fu­tile ex­er­cise (to con­tinue with the hear­ings) be­cause the ap­peal com­mit­tee of the ANC would ef­fec­tively set that de­ci­sion aside be­cause there would be an is­sue of the author­ity,” Sethene said.

He said he was of a strong 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 that they come clean in court so that they can be re­garded as le­git­i­mate”. “This is one of the key charges.” 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 the ANC con­sti­tu­tion pro­vided for a hear­ing to take place in an­other prov­ince 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.”

MAKHOSI KHOZA

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