The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has jumped the gun by announcing it will appeal Tuesday’s devastating High Court judgment that nullified the party's 2015 provincial elective conference (PEC).
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the decision would have to be made by the party's national leadership.
"The PEC of KZN must allow national space to deal with the issue, working of course with the executive committee."
"Our lawyers are still going through the court judgment. We have a responsibility to appreciate the political ramifications, but we have not yet met with the provincial leadership," Kodwa said.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal held an early conference in 2015 that saw chairperson Senzo Mchunu ousted and replaced by Sihle Zikalala.
Disgruntled branch leaders had argued that the holding of the provincial conference was unlawful, as it had not been requested by at least one-third of the branches in the province.
They also claimed it was rigged, with several irregularities relating to branch membership audits, insufficient time allowed for appeals against the auditing process, discrepancies in the accreditation of delegates, and the manipulation of voting results at the conference.
The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled that the elective conference, and all decisions taken at the conference, were unlawful and invalid. It also ordered the provincial leadership to pay the costs of the applicants.
Provincial task team
The ANC national leadership had initially blocked the early conference, but then allowed it to go ahead.
Kodwa said they would be meeting with the provincial leadership soon. He said the discussions would also include whether a provincial task team should be set up to oversee the province after calls were made for the leadership to step down.
"That is a function of the discussion. The discussion may come with a number of options, and it would be too early to pre-empt what those options are to resolve the matter, appreciating that there is court judgment," he said.
However, provincial secretary Supa Zuma disagreed with Kodwa that the ANC national executive committee would have to decide on the matter.
"If it was like that, then there was no need for applicants to bring us to court. They should have gone to the NEC. But, the reality is, I am respondent number 3. It is the ANC in KZN that is in court and not the NEC," Zuma said.
He said they had received approval from Luthuli House to hold a special provincial executive committee meeting last night, following the court ruling.
It was at this meeting that the decision to appeal the judgment had been taken. However, Zuma refused to discuss the basis of the appeal.
He also denied that there was a leadership vacuum in the province, saying the decision to appeal meant they could continue to stay in office.