ANC to tackle KZN standoff

African National Congress top brass in KwaZulu-Natal Nocawe Mafu, Sihle Zikalala and Mike Mabuyakhulu.
African National Congress top brass in KwaZulu-Natal Nocawe Mafu, Sihle Zikalala and Mike Mabuyakhulu.
Image: Twitter

A report on the halting of the ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference and what transpired will be handed over to the party's national working committee (NWC) today, where a decision on the way forward will be taken.

A group of disgruntled members approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday at the 11th hour.

They asked that the conference be interdicted from going ahead at the time the delegates were already at the University of Zululand to register to take part. An interim interdict was granted.

KwaZulu-Natal is the ANC's most influential and biggest province. With a year to go before the 2019 general elections, the party needs to get its house in order.

Last year, the provincial executive committee was declared unlawful by the same high court after irregularities at the party's 2015 conference were challenged by the losing faction.

This past weekend's three-day conference was meant to be a rerun.

ANC national executive committee member and convener of deployees in KwaZulu-Natal, Nocawe Mafu, said she would be submitting a written report to the NWC.

"The officials will meet tomorrow [today] and discussions will touch on the KZN matter and then we will get a directive," she said.

The ANC has complained that it was not given an opportunity to respond to the application lodged at the high court, and that the court did not give it an opportunity to give its side [of the story].

The party is still expected to lodge responding papers.

The application to interdict the conference was launched by disgruntled members who claimed to represent the Moses Mabhida region.

It is understood that some in the party want those who took the province to court to be disciplined.

There were attempts after the court order to turn the conference into a consultative one, but delegates rejected this.

Chaos erupted at the conference on Friday night. Delegates booed ANC national chairman Gwede Mantashe.

The KZN ANC has since apologised to Mantashe.

Provincial task team coordinator Sihle Zikalala explained during a media briefing on Saturday that there was a perception among ANC members that some national leaders interfered and were "peddling divisions".

Zikalala said the party was hoping to hold the conference in six weeks' time.

Zikalala is standing for the position of chairman, the position he was elected to in the 2015 conference which was nullified by the court.

It was understood that the province had reached a power-sharing agreement ahead of the conference, with Zikalala standing unopposed and Mike Mabuyakhulu as his deputy.

The Sunday Times reported that former president Jacob Zuma had sunk the settlement deal between warring factions.

This intervention also reportedly torpedoed the settlement brokered by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zikalala is a staunch supporter of Zuma.