Nadeco leadership battle goes to court

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Lawyers for Ziba Jiyane's faction in the battle for control of the National Democratic Convention (Nadeco) are expected to lodge papers asking for the reversal of a conference decision that elected Hawu Mbatha as president.

The papers will be lodged with the supreme court in Bloemfontein on Thursday. This is according to Mbeki Ngwenya, secretary of the Nadeco reconciliation task team formed after a series of court battles between Jiyane and Mbatha.

Ngwenya said they believed the process used to elect Mbatha was flawed. Mbatha was, together with a new national executive council, elected in QwaQwa in April in what was described as the "first-ever" federal conference of Nadeco.

Ngwenya said the situation in the party was "very grave".

"Mbatha and Jiyane's sides are at loggerheads, but I believe that as soon as the court reverses the conference decision, we will try and sort out the mess," he said.

Ngwenya said a meeting to reconcile the two was called on Saturday, but Mbatha's side did not show up. Only Jiyane was present.

Vincent Ngema, Nadeco general secretary sent a note asking for the meeting to be postponed, which was impossible, Ngwenya said.

Ngwenya said they would also lodge papers in Pietermaritzburg today against the axing of two Nadeco councillors in the Mzinyathi and Amajuba districts.

The two were axed by a "faction" of the party.

Thokozani Hadebe and Thandanani Njoko were expelled after a disciplinary hearing by the party's district leadership last week.

"They did not have any powers to do that. We are going to court to reverse that as well. These people are being controlled by the ANC as it lost two districts after we, together with the IFP, voted them out," he said.

Margaret Arnolds, national spokesman for Nadeco, said Jiyane's group could go to court because it was their democratic right.

"If we are served with papers, we will also go to court. Prior to holding our conference, a high court judge had granted us permission to hold the conference. So we believe it was legal," she said.