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Parliament rejects MK’s legal bid to interdict the first sitting

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Johnathan Paoli

THE Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party’s bid to stop the first sitting of 7th Parliament at the Constitutional Court has been rejected by the Secretary to the National Assembly who through his lawyer said, he is legally bound to set the sitting at a date and time determined by the Chief Justice.

The MK issued a statement on Sunday and said it had instructed its legal team to make an application in the Constitutional Court in order to prevent the swearing-in of the National Assembly.

MK National spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the party was seeking to exercise its democratic right to challenge the recent 2024 National Election results by ensuring the results were free and fair, and failing a satisfactory resolution to the contest, demand a re-election within 3 months in terms of section 49(3) of the Constitution.

“The MK party and other political parties remain committed through peaceful and constitutional means to safeguards the political integrity and the will of the people by ensuring that every citizen’s vote is accounted for so the outcome of the National Assembly representation is the will of the people in the true organic sense,” he said.

However, in a statement published on Monday, Parliament’s legal services said they do not agree with the MK party’s legal interpretation of section 49 (3) of the Constitution.

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

“Accordingly, unless and until the results of the elections are set aside by the court pursuant of S 49 (3) of the Constitution, Parliament must ensure that the sittings take place as directed,” read the letter signed by the legal advisor.

Nhlamulo said the party will remain unwilling to cooperate with any parliamentary procedures until such a time where the court has confirmed that no inappropriate actions were conducted during the elections.

“In lieu of Parliament’s posture, we are compelled to express grave concerns about the Secretary of Parliament, but most crucially the Chief Justice for their premature statement or judgements regarding issues related to the matter at hand, knowing that the matter may end up in court,” the spokesperson said.

He said the party, in line with other political parties who have also expressed their discontentment, would remain committed through peaceful and constitutional means to safeguard the political integrity and the will of the people by ensuring that every citizen’s vote is accounted for so that the outcome of the NA representation is the will of the people in the true organic sense.

While the party said it would boycott the first sitting of the NA, and thus try and prevent Parliament from reaching quorum, secretary to parliament Xolile George previously said that only 134 members were needed to reach a quorum.

“For passing bills and any matters you need a majority of members but for any other matter, you need one third of matters of that house, that house being the National Assembly,” George said.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is expected to announce the first sitting of Parliament this week, with Zondo presiding over the election of the deputy speaker and Speaker of Parliament.

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