12/09/2017 09:20 SAST | Updated 12/09/2017 09:48 SAST

KZN Court Judgment A Presidential Game-Changer

Court rules that ANC must have fresh provincial elections in KZN.

Supporters of the ANC. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Supporters of the ANC. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Pietermaritzburg High Court in on Tuesday ordered that the KwaZulu-Natal ANC have fresh elections.

Judge Jerome Mnguni declared the 2015 November elective conference unlawful.

This may be the biggest game-changer in the presidential race.

Currently, President Jacob Zuma's frontman, Sihle Zikalala, stands at the helm of the ANC in the KwaZulu-Natal.

Zikalala and his comrades, such as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) ANC secretary-general Super Zuma, are staunch and unwavering Zuma supporters and have thrown their weight behind Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the country's next leader.

But KZN's veteran leaders, who were ousted in the 2015 provincial elective conference, and who still enjoy favour in many regions, fought to overthrow the Zuma camp.

The Cyril Ramaphosa allies, led by former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu, instituted court proceedings to have the results of the conference declared null and void. Citing procedural flaws, they believe the election was rigged.

One of these alleged anomalies includes the tweeting of the results by an official ANC account while voting was still underway.

This judgment would be a major influencing factor in the outcome of the ANC national conference in December.

During the ANC's national general council in 2015, it was revealed that more than 150,000 of the 769,870 ANC members came from KZN. This translates to about 21 percent of the entire party constituency.

Of the 2,500 voting branch delegates from all nine provinces, 513 come from KZN.

Using 2012's Mangaung conference as an additional guideline, of the total 4,500 voting delegates, 974 were from KZN. That equates to 21.6 percent.

Putting that number into perspective, KZN had more voting delegates than the Free State, North West, the Western Cape and the Northern Cape combined.

To be elected as president, a candidate would have to acquire 50 percent of the total vote plus one.

Zuma enjoyed the support of the province through his presidential campaign, but a decade later, the province is split down the middle and the outcome of the court case will tip the balance of forces to one of either of the two sides.

This ruling means that Zikalala's executive committee will surely be dissolved before December. But that doesn't mean there will be time for another committee to be elected.

It will, however, allow Mchunu to more effectively push the Ramaphosa campaign into unchartered Zuma territory, without ramifications from Zikalala and his band.