African National Congress (ANC) member Lawrence Dube, who took the party to court and won, was "barred" from attending the KwaZulu-Natal's provincial general council (PGC) that ended on Tuesday.
Dube who is the main applicant that challenged the outcome of the 2015 provincial elective conference told News24 that, despite being called by the regional office to travel to Durban for the two-day PGC, his name was missing from the list of delegates on arrival and his branch, Beyers Naude in AbaQulusi region, was also not listed.
He is the chair of the branch.
"Do you know how painful it is to sit with people who are said to be delegates, but you know deep down in your heart that they do not qualify to be delegates because their branches did not sit?
"[Meanwhile,] you are there legally, but you are barred from participating in ANC democratic process," Dube told News24.
He said his branch was repeatedly frustrated throughout the nomination process because they knew he backed deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in the ANC's fierce presidential race.
Dube added that his branch received the nomination packs just nine days before the initial deadline for the branch general meetings to decide on preferred candidates.
The first meeting collapsed after the party deployee fled when there was "havoc". He claimed it was caused by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma supporters in the branch.
He also said the second meeting had the required quorum and followed nomination guidelines, but struggled to get support from the regional office.
"There was bias from leaders. They were frustrating branches they knew were not supporting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma," he said.
Dube and four others took the ANC to court, disputing the outcome of the 2015 elective conference in May 2016. The conference saw current provincial chair Sihle Zikalala replace former premier Senzo Mchunu.
Dube called for the provincial executive committee to step down after the September KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruling. However, the party’s national executive committee (NEC) said it would allow the PEC to stay in office and oppose the judgment.
"We have said their continued stay in office is continued damage happening on a daily basis on ordinary people in the organisation… Me being denied the right to go to the conference, it's also supporting what we have said in documents that there is that problem," Dube said.
But the ANC in the province has denied the claims.
Number of delegates
Spokesperson Super Zuma said all branches that followed processes were allowed to attend the PGC.
"Branches that would not have been allowed would not have held successful branch meetings. If Dube has a problem, he must not launch a dispute with the media but follow internal processes of the ANC," Zuma said.
But Dube insisted that processes were followed and a report was made to the Electoral Commission and to secretary general Gwede Mantashe's office.
Kwa-Zulu-Natal is a sought-after province in the race for leadership, as it is taking the highest number of delegates to the conference.
Dlamini-Zuma won the provincial nomination at the PGC, receiving 454 branch nominations while Ramaphosa managed 191.
Dube said the outcome showed that Ramaphosa had managed to make inroads, despite "repeated attempts to frustrate them".
He has questioned the final outcome of the nomination process that had to be revised on Tuesday, but said the Ramaphosa campaign was victorious.
"It was a serious victory. They said we were going to get less than 50 [branch nominations]. They were not expecting we will get more than 100. We were looking at around 200 and, through our work, we were correct, 191 is close to 200," he said.
Despite Dlamini-Zuma being guaranteed support from her home province with the provincial executive committee backing her, she spent more time in the province campaigning than her rival Ramaphosa.
She also had the Youth League campaigning for her.
Ramaphosa's campaign in the province saw him visit Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the Shembe church.
He relied heavily on the support and work of Mchunu, who is a candidate for secretary general in his slate, NEC member Bheki Cele, former MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and former Ethekwini mayor and SACP provincial chairperson James Nxumalo to bring in the branch nominations.
Cosatu has also endorsed Ramaphosa for the top post.
Dube told News24 that he was "quite comfortable" with the numbers and is confident ahead of the December elective conference.
"We wanted to prove to them that KZN is not united and the divisions will cost NDZ," Dube said.
The ANC conference gets underway on December 16 - 20 at Nasrec expo centre in Johannesburg.
While Ramaphosa is leading with branch nominations, only delegates that attend the conference will get to vote.
Some branches bring more than one delegate to the conference depending on their size.