ANC KwaZulu-Natal interim task team coordinator Sihle Zikalala has blamed the party's national leadership for sowing divisions in the party.
Zikalala was speaking alongside task team convenor Mike Mabuyakhulu and national executive committee member Nocawe Mafu during a press briefing at the University of Zululand, where the province's elective conference was set to take place this weekend.
Factional battles within the party were laid bare when members of the ANC's Lower South Coast, Harry Gwala and Moses Mabhida regions — believed to be loyalists of president Cyril Ramaphosa — on Friday launched an urgent application in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg to interdict the conference from going ahead.
#ANCKZN Zikalala says there were no issues raised in the court bid that the ANC could not answer to, calls a judgement being handed down without the party being given a chance to respond "unfortunate" @TeamNews24— Matshidiso Madia (@tshidi_lee) June 9, 2018
The interdict was granted, sending the conference into disarray. The party's national leadership agreed that the conference would be downgraded to a consultative meeting while issues were resolved — but Zuma supporters in KZN would not have it, disrupting ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe and Mabuyakhulu and preventing them from speaking.
Both men were booed and heckled by the majority of the delegation, who were chanting pro-Zuma songs and drumming on tables. The meeting came to a standstill, and the ANC's national leadership put a complete stop to it.
But Zikalala blamed the party's national leaders for sowing divisions.
#ANCKZN Zikalala says this was result of frustration from the membership on allegations of factionalism being peddled by some NEC members. "The national chair was just a victim, it wasn't directed at him. We will engage the National officials"— Samkele Maseko (@samkelemaseko) June 9, 2018
"There is a level of frustration from ANC members about what is alleged to be divisive interference from some leaders of the ANC at a national level who peddle divisions in the ANC in the province," Zikalala said.
He said the ANC will challenge the conduct of the judge who granted the order.
"We are going to explore avenues to challenge the conduct of the charge. We believe that it undermines the independence of the judiciary... The view from the meeting, which is the view we have agreed on, is we will engage with court, [and] seek to apply for an early return to court to present ourselves and present our case. We will be applying for that on Monday," he said.
"We will be engaging with outstanding branches that have not convened [their branch general meetings] and engage with some of the comrades who have raised issues, finalise those issues, [and] go to regional conferences in Harry Gwala, Lower South Coast, and Moses Mabhida."
Zikalala says the party plans to reconvene another elective conference in six weeks.