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MK files urgent application to interdict first sitting of Parliament, in an unending saga of litigation

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By Johnathan Paoli

Former President Jacob Zuma’s UMkhonto weSizwe party has filed an urgent court application that its demands must be heard before June 14, wherein it is interdicting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and the Secretary of Parliament from convening or conducting the first sitting of Parliament scheduled for Friday.

Alternatively, the interdict seeks the suspension of the first sitting of the National Assembly until such time that it is properly constituted.

In the court papers the party is also asking the court  to compel the Secretary to declare that the first sitting of Parliament is unconstitutional, should it take place.

Among other demands, the MK party has asked the the court to declare:

  1. That the National Assembly is not properly constituted unless in its first sitting it consists of no less than 350 members and no more than 400 members as prescribed in section 46 of the Constitution.
  2. That the conduct of the IEC in prematurely declaring the 2024 elections free and fair and declaring the results must be set aside”. 

In the interdict application, the MK party also want President Cyril Ramaphosa to call and set dates for another round of elections which must be held within 90 days in line with section 49 of the Constitution.

After the declaration of the 29 May 2024 Elections by the IEC, MK joined 21 other parties in challenging the fairness of the national and provincial elections, in light of the technical and logistical challenges experienced during the ballot casting.

The MK party also announced on Monday, its provision of concrete evidence backing up its claims, and said the party will reveal its plans to file an application with the Constitutional Court aimed at halting the inaugural session of the newly-elected Members of Parliament.

MK National spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhela, explained that the party’s legal team has been diligently collecting evidence over the past week, which will support their request to delay the parliamentary session and highlight irregularities not only in their own electoral experiences but also those reported by other political entities.

The MK party has been fraught with divisions right from its inception about five months ago with expelled former leader and co-founder Jabulani Khumalo trying everything in his power to unseat former President Jacob Zuma who is now the head of the party.

Despite Khumalo’s pending court case against Zuma, Parliament has confirmed that he will not be allowed to attend the swearing in and inauguration of MPs.

In clarifying confusion regarding his status, Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George also said that following a letter from MK’s secretary-general Sihle Ngubane, which informed the legislature of the effective expulsion of Khumalo from the party, the former leader was not considered an MP.

According to section 47(3)(c) of the constitution, when an individual loses membership of the political party which nominated the person as a member of the assembly, they effectively lose membership of the national assembly itself, George said.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo also confirmed that Khumalo was not on the list of people which the legislature is in communication with.

“We have not received the communication from Mr Khumalo and we can say he is not on the list of the people we communicate with on behalf of their party,” Mothapo said.

Mothapo said that parliament was aware of Khumalo’s legal attempt to get his expulsion from the party declared as invalid and unlawful, but that any form of reinstatement would be solely dependent upon the outcome of the court.

In addition, despite claims from Khumalo, Mothapo said on Monday that it would be a fruitless expenditure to continue making arrangements for MK Party members to attend parliament after they announced boycotting the sitting.

However, on Monday Khumalo asked MK members not to be intimidated by former president Jacob Zuma and other MK leadership structures’ call for a boycott of the first sitting of Parliament and urged them to go to Cape Town.

“We will be announcing the next cause of action regarding the submission of your details. Nobody has any right to stop you,” Khumalo wrote.

He further highlighted the fact that Zuma still receives benefits from the state that he claims to be undemocratic and called for the consensual forfeiture of his benefits in his struggle against the state.

Then in another twist in the MK saga, on Tuesday, Khumalo filed court papers where he is trying to interdict the first parliamentary sitting unless he is reinstated as number 1 on the list of MK candidates, failing which he also ordered that Zondo await the verdict of his court case against Zuma and the MK leadership.

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