Leaders from South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), have been called to a national executive committee (NEC) discussion ahead of its 54th national conference on Saturday, to deliberate court judgments made on Friday.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told African News Agency (ANA) that the NEC on Saturday morning was not a meeting, but a "special NEC to discuss today's [Friday's] courts judgments".

According to reports, the ANC leaders are expected to meet at 8am on Saturday morning -- two hours before the start of the national conference.

On Friday, three courts in three provinces handed down damning judgments against the ruling party's branches.

An execution order was granted in the ANC KwaZulu-Natal “rebels” case in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday, meaning the party’s provincial leadership must vacate office.

The 27 provincial executive committee (PEC) members who were to attend the ruling party’s national conference will now be attending as branch delegates, not as PEC members.

The court also granted the party leave to appeal its September ruling in which it found that the 2015 provincial conference was declared null and void. 

At that conference, current provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala ousted incumbent Senzo Mchunu. Mchunu was fired as premier a few months later. While the matter is on appeal, the September ruling stands. 

About an hour before the judgment was delivered, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said that the party was waiting for “proper communication” on the KZN judgment. 

“If it nullifies the PEC, it will only impact on the 27 PEC members, not delegates,” he said at a press briefing on the party’s state of readiness for the national conference.

The province has thrown its weight behind Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take the reins of the ruling party’s presidency, while the “rebels” are backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Meanwhile, the Bloemfontein High Court voiding the outcomes of the ANC Free State provincial congress. The ruling declared null and void the reelection of Ace Magashule as provincial chairperson.

Magashule is an ally of President Jacob Zuma and has campaigned for the president’s ex-wife and former African Union Commission chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma to take over at the helm of the ANC.

Magashule, who is also the premier of the Free State province, was reelected after branch meetings had to be rerun. However, disgruntled ANC members took him to court claiming the branch meetings were defective.

Friday’s court rulings does not prevent the province from sending delegates to the conference.

In the North West, the provincial ANC said it would appeal the decision of the the High Court in Mmabatho nullifying the Bojanala regional conference. The court ruled that Bojanala regional conference was null and void.

Provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said the ANC respected democracy and the powers of the courts to "arbitrate in matters where any disgruntled party seeks its counsel"

“It is, however, our strong held view that all the necessary processes were adhered to in preparations for and in holding Bojanala regional conference. In addition to this, upon realising that there was some dissatisfaction, several meetings were initiated with the applicants and they chose not to cooperate," he said.  

"It is our firm view that the court erred on some of the critical matters of ANC procedures and processes. It is in this regard that we have instructed our legal team to immediately file an appeal.”

He said it was clear that the applicants never challenged the ANC national conference processes and therefore the judgment had no immediate direct bearing on the number of North West delegates at the national conference.

The high court ruled that branch general meeting held during November 26 to July 2017 were unconstitutional and irregular established. The affected branches were in the Madibeng, 24 branches, Rustenburg seven branches and eight branches in Moses Kotane.

The court also ruled that the decisions of branch meetings held during October to November 2017, for the purpose of electing delegated to the national conference were irregular, invalid and unconstitutional and were set aside.

The court ruling did not affect the rights of delegates who have been elected at properly constituted branch general meetings to serve as delegates at any conference of the ANC.

Former Bojanala regional secretary Tokyo Mataboge and 39 others approached the high court seeking an order to nullify Bojanala regional conference, stating that 40 branches in Bojanala were not constitutionally established.

- African News Agency (ANA)