ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal are likely to continue with business as usual in spite of a damning judgment against their provincial leadership by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
University of the Witwatersrand Professor Susan Booysen said there were serious political implications for the governing party stemming from Tuesday's ruling that the results of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC's 8th provincial elective conference in November 2015 were unlawful.
"The dominant faction in the ANC is failing to learn, because this serves their factional agenda," she said.
Responding to questions on the impact of the court ruling on ANC branches in the province and whether or not they would be able to participate in the elective conference, Booysen said she believed it would be business as usual in the province.
"My impression is that the branches can continue with their work as it would cast a big shadow over the umbrella organisation."
A bad idea
This judgment, even if taken on appeal, was a huge indictment on the ANC's ability to ensure the fairness of internal election processes, she said.
The party's provincial executive committee (PEC) has already indicated that it would be heading to the Supreme Court of Appeal over the High Court ruling.
News24 columnist Mpumelelo Mkhabela said continuing this battle in court was a bad idea.
He said although legally the PEC had the right to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal, politically this would not be the ideal solution as it would lengthen the legal process.
"It would be very ironic in the sense that when the applicants brought the matter before the High Court, the defenders were saying: 'Why are you taking political issues to court?'. It would be interesting if they now themselves as defenders have no option to solve their things politically," said Mkhabela.
Fixing the problem
He said the most important task for the province was rectifying its error as pointed out by the court.
"If KZN can fix the unlawfulness of that congress then there can be no reason why it's impacted upon in terms of the participation in the national elective conference," he said.
Councillor Lawrence Dube and four others brought the application to nullify the conference citing a number of irregularities including that the conference had taken place prematurely.
The 2015 congress saw the ousting of then chairperson Senzo Mchunu, who was replaced by Sihle Zikalala.
Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu got 675 votes in a process where 1 459 delegates voted.