Mchunu: ANC must face the truth

Ousted KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu says this week’s much-anticipated court proceedings will offer the ANC a chance to restore justice and fairness within its ranks.

The case, which has dragged on for more than a year, will be heard by a full Bench of judges in the Pietermaritzburg High Court this week.

Applicants are seeking to have the 2015 ANC provincial conference, which saw Mchunu being replaced by current chairperson Sihle Zikalala, nullified.

The conference left a once-consolidated province deeply divided between those who supported Mchunu and those who backed Zikalala.

Speaking to City Press this week, Mchunu said the case was a simple one that centred on the grievances of ANC members.

“At its core are issues that were raised by branches and that were not resolved, and I think in the main it is a call for us in the ANC to bring about internal justice, internal fairness and preparedness of leadership at all levels to listen to whoever,” he said.

“So, whether the case is won or lost by whoever, that is not a big issue. The issue is: Why must members of the ANC feel that the only way to deal with conflict is to go to court when matters could have been resolved? Courts are not necessarily a divider in the movement. By the time you go to court, it shows that you are already divided.”

PEC confident

Speaking for the applicants this week, Lawrence Dube, from KwaZulu-Natal’s Abaqulusi region, expressed confidence that they would be vindicated. Dube and other applicants have argued that there were irregularities in the run-up to the conference, and at the conference itself, which saw the current provincial executive committee (PEC) elected.

Dube said they had used a previous case, in which ANC members in the Free State took the organisation to court over their provincial conference in 2012, as a blueprint for this case.

He said a precedent had been set by the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, when it ruled in favour of the ANC members who had taken the PEC to court.

“I doubt that a lower court would choose to make a judgment which contradicts the highest court,” he said.

PEC member Mdumiseni Ntuli expressed the view that the PEC stood a good chance of winning the case, saying members were confident that their case was “watertight”.

He added that they looked forward to bringing an end to the conflict, which was a constant irritation in the province, and that the court judgment would bring a welcome resolution.

The court proceedings take place just four months before the ANC heads to a national elective conference.

Mchunu’s supporters in the province believe that the current PEC was imposed on them by a faction in the ANC – of which President Jacob Zuma is said to be a part – which wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed the president.

They say the current PEC was placed there to prepare the ground for a clean sweep for Dlamini-Zuma.

Mchunu’s supporters, as well as the former premier, have thrown their weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for the top job.

A win for either side would be advantageous for the preferred candidate because KwaZulu-Natal will bring the largest delegation to the December elective conference.

A PEC member, who asked not to be named, told City Press that the committee doubted that the court would choose to undo everything the current PEC had done, particularly administratively, as too much time had passed since it was elected.

The member said that such drastic action would destabilise the ANC ahead of a major conference in a very volatile province.

Asked if he was ready to take up his old post as chairperson of KwaZulu-Natal should the court allow it, Mchunu said that was the ANC’s call.

“It will be up to the ANC to decide what happens next. The ANC must assess the outcomes of the court action and decide from there. I do not believe that the court will make all of the decisions for the ANC on who must or must not be the leaders. It will give space to the ANC,” he said, adding that the case had elicited the poisoning of ANC members and structures in the province.

“People who find themselves in a situation where no one is willing to listen, and who end up in court, are saying they are convinced that a wrong was done and that they want the ANC to face the truth instead of dying on the inside. This will assist the ANC. The ANC will have to revisit the matter without fear or favour. They will have to face the truth and set aside factions,” Mchunu said.

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