House disagrees with MK Party interdict first sitting

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) led by former president Jacob Zuma has delivered on its threat to boycott Parliament’s first sitting. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) led by former president Jacob Zuma has delivered on its threat to boycott Parliament’s first sitting. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 10, 2024


Parliament’s secretary Xolile George has dismissed threats by the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) after it filed an interdict against the much-anticipated sitting of the National Assembly for the swearing-in ceremony following the national elections.

On Monday, the party led by former president Jacob Zuma revealed that it has interdicted Chief Justice Raymond Zondo from presiding over the first sitting of the National Assembly, following the May 29 elections.

Last week, the party through its spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said it will not attend Parliament until such time that all of its objections against the elections have been resolved by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

On Friday, following reports that the party had made a U-turn on its decision to boycott the first sitting of the National Assembly due in a matter of 10 days, the party said it still maintained its earlier position not to take part in the first sitting of the National Assembly.

On Monday, Ndhlela said the party’s legal representatives issued a final demand to the Chief Justice and secretary to Parliament and other officials tasked with arranging the sitting the party would not to take part in these activities until their demands are attended to.

“In defence of our people’s constitutional rights, the MKP will file papers with the Constitutional Court to interdict the swearing-in of party nominated candidates as members of the National Assembly until our grievances, which are premised on allegations of election fraud and rigging are thoroughly addressed by the courts.

“Legally, the absence of the MKP members will prevent achieving the composition of the 350 members required to lawfully constitute the National Assembly, further invalidating the session which aims to appoint the president and therefore the government of the party,” said Ndhlela in a statement.

According to the SABC News, lawyers for the party have already sent a letter of demand to George and Justice Zondo asking both offices to refrain from convening the first sitting of Parliament.

The MKP said failure to comply with the letter of demand would result in court action.

Last week, The Star reported that the MKP, alongside 26 other political parties, accused the IEC of vote rigging and called for a recount of ballots in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal.

The party also called for an elections re-run, saying it had volumes of evidence confirming its allegations of vote rigging by the IEC and the ANC.

“The MKP and other concerned political parties including their members will continue to exercise their peaceful democratic right in seeking to ensure that the election results are free and fair.

“We remain confident and resolute in ensuring that the re-run of the elections will take place within three months as per Section 49(3) of the Constitution, once the sham of the elections results have been set aside by the courts,” he said.

The MKP’s decision to take the matter to court comes just days after IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya handed over the list of candidates from various parties to Chief Justice Zondo on Thursday.

Moepya made the handover in preparation for the first sittings of the respective legislative houses, expected to take place during a swearing-in ceremony in less than 14 days.

In turn, Justice Zondo handed over the list which consists of 174 women and 226 men to George.

In a letter by MKP’s lawyers Zungu Incorporated, the lawyers say: “Our client intends to to challenge the validity of the declaration of results by the IEC pursuant to which the aforementioned lists were compiled.

“If the said decision is reviewed and set aside then the envisaged process will be legally incompetent… We are instructed to demand as we hereby do that either or both offices which are currently seized with the convening of the aforesaid sitting, must refrain from doing so as this will infringe on the constitutional rights of our clients, its nominees, its members and more importantly, its voters and indeed the South African people as a whole.”

However, responding to the MKP, George in a letter addressed to Zungu Incorporated on Monday said he does not agree with the party on its interpretation of Section 46 of the Constitution.

“I do not agree with your interpretation and I am of the view that the secretary to Parliament is legally bound to facilitate the first sitting of Parliament at a date and time to be determined by the IEC.

“Accordingly, unless and until the results of the elections are set aside by the courts, pursuant to Section 49(3) of the Constitution, Parliament must ensure that the sitting takes place as directed,” he said.

George said arrangements are already at an advanced stage that the first sitting will be physical.

“I take this opportunity to remind you that the first sitting of the National Assembly and the NCOP will be physical sittings and arrangements have been made by the Parliamentary Administration to ensure that all members who appear on the IEC list, as handed over by the Chief Justice are provided with travel and accommodation to attend the sittings and the associated on boarding activities in Cape Town,” he said.