The now illegitimate ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership will not be dictated to by the national executive committee on whether or not to appeal the judgment that declared their appointment unlawful and void.
At a joint press conference held by regional leaders alongside the women, veterans and youth leagues in the province, the defiant group made it very clear that national leadership had abandoned them throughout the legal process.
Some of those who formed part of the group that addressed the media, such as Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu in her capacity as deputy chair of the women’s league in the province, are members of the now illegitimate provincial executive committee.
The conference was in response to a judgment made – by a full bench – in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday that the 2015 provincial conference, which saw the ousting of former chairperson Senzo Mchunu in favour of then secretary Sihle Zikalala, was unlawful.
ANC youth league secretary and staunch Zuma loyalist, Thanduxolo Sabelo, led the charge in taking on the national leadership of the ANC – which indicated that the final decision on whether or not to appeal was up to the top brass.
“With regards to the appeal, there are no two ways about it. The provincial executive committee is appealing the decision and we don’t need anybody’s permission.
"We don’t need the national executive committee’s permission to appeal. It is the provincial executive committee that is in court.
"Go look at the papers; it is not the national executive committee that is in court. It is the chairperson of the ANC, comrade Sihle Zikalala, and other provincial executive committee members.
"They are the ones who are in court. So we don’t need anybody’s permission to appeal to go to court,” a defiant Sabelo charged.
“Imagine you are arrested for something else, you get convicted, someone else says they want to appeal for you, you can’t appeal for yourself. What law is that? Where was it learnt?
"That law can’t work with us. We are appealing the decision and in fact today the officials have been instructed by the provincial executive committee to file the intention to appeal.”
The youth league chairperson Kwazi Mshengu concurred, saying that the way the national executive committee had handled the matter was unfair to the province.
“We have heard the national spokesperson, and I think also the secretary-general, saying that KwaZulu-Natal can’t take a unilateral decision to appeal because it is the preserve of the national leadership.
"From the beginning of this process, this battle has been our battle. National executive committee members could not even come to court to defend the ANC.
"They could not. It is very strange that they leave us and say ‘handle the case’, and when the outcomes of the case are out they say ‘no thank you we are taking over now’.
"It can’t be; that is very unfair. We respect the authority of the national executive committee, but we are saying it must be fair to us,” Mshengu lamented.
“We have been seized with this process from the beginning. None of you saw even one member of the national executive committee attending the court proceedings to defend the ANC.
"There was not even a statement from the ANC. You come at the tail end and say ‘thank you comrades you did your best and now we are taking over, you have no authority over this’. It is quite unfair.
"We think we are going to engage the national executive committee on this matter.”
Sabelo also pointed out that the mother body had initially provided legal representation to the province but later dropped it for no apparent reason.
Referring to the purge in the form of a Cabinet reshuffle, the group was at pains to express that the court judgment would not affect those who had been deployed to government.
“There has also been attempts to maliciously interpret the verdict only to mean it has a knock-on effect on all decision taken by the committee, including the re-constitution of the provincial executive council,” Mshengu said, reading from the statement
“Consequently, we want to assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal that the decision of the court has no impact on government and the provincial government remains intact, stable and focused on service delivery under the stewardship of Comrade Willies Mchunu.”