ANC Plans Team to Run KwaZulu-Natal Party After Court Ruling

Updated on
  • High Court annulled election of party leaders in province
  • South Africa’s ruling party badly split in KwaZulu-Natal

The top leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is preparing to appoint a team to run party affairs in KwaZulu-Natal after the High Court annulled the election of allies of President Jacob Zuma as the province’s bosses.

“While we respect the decision of the court, we are wary of allowing a court decision to create a situation where the ANC as an organization becomes flat-footed in doing its work,” Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Pretoria, the capital, at the end of National Executive Committee meeting.

Jacob Zuma

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The court had said in its ruling that the conference that elected the party leadership wasn’t legally constituted. The NEC decided it would discuss the ruling with its lawyers and consider whether an appeal of parts of it would stand a chance of success.

The High Court decision threw into disarray the ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal. With the biggest party membership of South Africa’s nine provinces, it was expected to wield great influence over a conference in December to name a new party leader. The two factions in the region are roughly split between one that backs the president and his ex-wife and preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and another that supports her main rival, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Read more on KwaZulu-Natal court ruling here

KwaZulu-Natal has been hit by bitter rivalries in the ANC, with the Institute for Security Studies recording about 100 political killings in the region since 2013. Nationally, the ANC is in turmoil because of the scandals that have shadowed Zuma, 75, during his eight-year presidency and the widening split between supporters of Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa.

If legal battles force a postponement of the December conference, that could delay Zuma’s departure as party leader and throw into question who would succeed him to become the ANC’s presidential candidate in 2019. It may also leave Africa’s most-industrialized nation with a leadership vacuum at a time when the economy is forecast to expand less than 1 percent this year and unemployment is at a 14-year high.

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