President Jacob Zuma has hired his own lawyers , over and above those retained by his party, as he continues to lose allies inside the ANC.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Zuma stunned the party’s senior leaders this week when he told them that he had sought his own legal opinion on whether the party can appeal against a court decision that effectively nullifies the pro-Dlamini-Zuma KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee.
He took the extraordinary measure despite the party, through its secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, having already hired lawyers to give legal advice on the matter.
Zuma’s legal team indicated that KwaZuluNatal PEC should appeal against the court ruling which nullified its election – while Mantashe was in possession of a different legal opinion, sought on behalf of the ANC.
The NEC overruled Zuma, discouraging going back to the court and instead suggesting that Zuma and the rest of the ANC top six meet with KwaZulu Natal leaders from both sides of the divide to find a political solution.
This follows a number of reports which indicate that the split in the ANC is present all the way down to branch level, with members differing on whether Dlamini-Zuma or Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, among others, should become the next party leader, the Sunday Times said.
Police were forced to disperse a group of ANC members near the gates of the International Convention Centre in East London on Saturday night, where the Eastern Cape ANC was hosting its provincial elective conference.
A pro-Dlamini-Zuma campaigner yesterday vowed to disrupt the provincial conference if it was reconvened last night when it became clear her faction would lose.
In the Free State, the leadership of provincial chairman Ace Magashule, said to be another Dlamini-Zuma backer, is also being challenged after a party member threatened to go to court if Magashule’s executive committee was not disbanded.