Home South African MK, ANC trademark battle heats up

MK, ANC trademark battle heats up

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Concern has been raised about a video posted on social media showing ADEC (African Democratic Change) leader Visvin Reddy, who has aligned with the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, taking aim at the ANC and the judiciary over the legal battle regarding the MK trademark.

African Democratic Change leader Visvin Reddy said he was not inciting violence. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo, Independent Newspapers

CONCERN has been raised about a video posted on social media showing ADEC (African Democratic Change) leader Visvin Reddy, who has aligned with the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, taking aim at the ANC and the judiciary over the legal battle regarding the MK trademark.

This, as political parties in KwaZulu-Natal have raised concerns that fresh political violence could erupt in the province after recent incidents of violence and intimidation ahead of a highly contested May 29 general election.

The ANC’s legal bid over the uMkhonto weSizwe trademark following the registration of the new political party is set to be heard on March 19 at the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein.

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The ANC’s legal dispute centres on the use of the logo and trademark, which the party argues may lead the public to believe that the MK Party is connected to the governing party.

In the video, Reddy said the courts must not be used to stop the MK Party.

“We are sending a loud and clear message that if these courts, which are sometimes captured, if they stop MK then there will be anarchy in this country …

“There will be riots like you have never seen in this country … there will be no elections … no South African will go to the polls if MK is not on the ballot,” said Reddy, a former member of the Minority Front, ANC and DA.

Reddy said on Tuesday that he was not inciting violence should the MK Party lose the trademark court matter to the ANC.

“I would never incite violence and looting because I was on the ground (during the July 2021 unrest) and I never want to see that happen again,” he said.

Reddy said he was instead warning the ANC, just as he had warned President Cyril Ramaphosa not to arrest former president Jacob Zuma in 2021.

“Ramaphosa did not understand the impact of arresting Zuma and the damage and the racial tension this led to.”

Reddy said for the sake of peace and unity, the ANC should withdraw its trademark case against the MK Party.

Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, in reacting to the video, said political leaders must be aware that any reckless statement made in public might incite violence.

“The size of the party does not matter, all leaders must operate with restraint because when emotions are at play, this could lead to violence.

“There are signs that tensions are going to rise in KwaZulu-Natal and separate incidents could lead to a combination of something if accompanied by reckless statements.”

According to reports, there have been 40 incidents of intimidation between ANC and MK Party members since the latter was formed in December last year.

On Saturday, MK Party member Vusimuzi “Blesser” Ntuli was killed in uMlazi’s Tehuis Hostel.

MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said that, without pre-empting the investigation, the killing of Ntuli “seems like the highest form of political intolerance” as the attack took place on his return from “executing the political programme of the MK Party”.

“Once again, we call upon leaders and members of political parties to act responsibly and resist the temptation to make reckless statements that can inflame the situation. MK Party further urges members to remain calm and allow investigations to be undertaken and the law to take its course.

“There must not only be justice for Blesser and other victims of crime, whether political or otherwise, but it must also be seen to be done.”

The DA Students Organisation (Daso) filed a criminal case against MK Party members for alleged intimidation after a recent incident at the uMgungundlovu TVET college.

Daso federal leader Liam Jacobs said they had opened charges against MK Party members after an event where they were advocating for the dismissal of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and the reformation of NSFAS through a petition, but the event was abruptly disrupted.

ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said there was no tension with the MK Party, adding that the governing party adheres to a code of conduct and encourages its members to stick to this.

“We call on all political parties to be cautious and responsible in their campaigns ahead of the elections. This province has a bad history and leaders must not encourage violence and must adhere to the rule of law.”

He said the ANC would go to the highest court in the land to safeguard its trademarks.

“Anyone is free to form their own organisation but the current leadership (of the ANC) has a responsibility to protect its own heritage,” Mndebele said.

EFF provincial leader Mongezi Twala said political killings were a scourge that had not been curbed. “There must be a concentrated fight against the murder of councillors and traditional leaders. Political tolerance should be the order of the day in KZN.”

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