11/06/2018 12:37 SAST | Updated 11/06/2018 12:38 SAST

What Now For The ANC In KZN? A Battle May Be Looming

Sources on both factions of the party in the province say tensions are peaking after a court interdicted its elective conference at the weekend.

Mike Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala on stage in front of ANC delegates in Empangeni, where the party's elective conference was supposed to take place.
Amil Umraw
Mike Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala on stage in front of ANC delegates in Empangeni, where the party's elective conference was supposed to take place.

Tensions are peaking within the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, with rival factions gearing up for a battle for power after the party's elective conference collapsed at the weekend.

Former president Jacob Zuma and his loyalists, who were certain of a clean sweep had the conference gone through, are livid. They believe they have been robbed of overarching control of the ANC in the province and are gearing up for a heated battle, pushing for the conference to be reconvened.

But supporters of Cyril Ramaphosa, who brought a court application at the eleventh hour on Friday to interdict the conference, say due process was not followed. They say they will not be "strong-armed" into holding elections that are "unlawful".

A source close to the Zuma camp said they will challenge the court interdict and push for another conference in July.

"The members who ran to the courts do not want stability in the ANC. They should be disciplined. At the national conference last year, the ANC took a resolution to fix its internal affairs internally, without having to run to the courts to solve factional battles. They are in defiance of that. It is because they know they have no power here, so they want the courts to give them power," he said.

READ: This Is Why Zuma Is Still The Boss In KZN

"There is only one ANC. We are in agreement on who should lead us in KZN. The majority of us are in agreement. Because their preferred members have no power to get into leadership, it does not mean that you defy the ANC and bring proper processes to a stop. We will fight this."

Ramaphosa supporters, on the other hand, say processes were not followed in the lead-up to the weekend's conference, and that should the election had taken place, they would have gone to court to challenge the results, like they did in 2015. Last year, the High Court Pietermaritzburg ruled the provincial ANC elective conference illegal and void, sending the party into disarray months before the crucial national conference in December.

"How can you hold a conference that has not been convened legally and within the prescripts of the ANC's rules? The interdict was granted because the judge could see there were irregularities," a source close to the Ramaphosa camp said.

READ: ANC KZN Blames Factionalism On National Leadership

He said members from the regions who applied for the interdict -- namely Moses Mabhidha, Harry Gwala and Lower South Coast -- fear reprisal. According to the source, national ANC leaders are panicking to restore calm to the embattled province.

"There have already been reports of members being threatened (referring to reports by EWN). There are talks about how to restore calm and quell tensions between the two groups. One strategy may be to send an entirely new team with representatives of both groups' interests from the national executive committee to lead the province until all processes have been followed and a proper election can take place. Some members from these regions were too afraid to attend the opening of the conference on Friday," he said.

"It is not true that we are scared we will be outvoted. We just want the correct processes to apply when the conference does happen. It is not about power. It is about due process. We cannot allow things to happen in the ANC illegally. A deal was on the table, and this deal was rejected. There are talks of a new deal but it is unlikely to work because the members are angry. Talks will be held soon."