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Why MK Party wants first Parliament sitting halted

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The Jacob Zuma-led party has hauled Secretary to Parliament Xolile George and Chief Justice Raymond to the country’s apex court to be stopped from convening and conducting the first sitting following the declaration of results on June 2.

MK Party interim secretary-general Sihle Ngubane said they sought direct access to the apex court because the first sitting of the National Assembly was set to take place within14 days after the declaration of results on June 2. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

THE “crashing” of the IEC’s results system and dashboard that did not operate for almost two hours on May 31 were among the reasons the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) forged ahead with its Constitutional Court application to interdict the first sitting of the National Assembly scheduled for Friday.

The Jacob Zuma-led party has hauled Secretary to Parliament Xolile George and Chief Justice Raymond to the country’s apex court to be stopped from convening and conducting the first sitting following the declaration of results on June 2.

It also asked, alternatively, that the court temporarily suspend the first sitting of the National Assembly until such time that it will be properly constituted.

The MK Party’s urgent application is pending a part B application where it wants the court to order President Cyril Ramaphosa to call fresh elections within 90 days, set aside the elections result announced by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) and that the first sitting of the National Assembly be declared not properly constituted if it has less than 350 MPs.

Justice Zondo, George, Ramaphosa, the IEC, parties to be represented in Parliament and those that contested the 2024 elections are cited as respondents.

The application is a sequel to MKP’s rejection of the “questionable” election results it deems to be fraudulent and rigged despite the IEC finding the polls to be free and fair.

The party, which has set itself to attain two-thirds majority, managed to secure a third position in the National Assembly with 58 seats from 14.58% of the votes and a majority of votes in KwaZulu-Natal.

It has since announced that its 58 newly-elected MPs will boycott the first sitting of the National Assembly until their grievances are thoroughly resolved in court.

In his founding affidavit, MK Party interim secretary-general Sihle Ngubane said they sought direct access to the apex court because the first sitting of the National Assembly was set to take place within14 days after the declaration of results on June 2.

“The matter concerns weighty and novel issues of the utmost constitutional importance and interpretation which are in the public interest and the core of the constitutional democracy itself.”

Ngubane also said a large number of objections finalised by the IEC were not satisfactorily dealt with and would be pursued in the appropriate forums.

“The indisputable fact that some of the new objections which remain to be properly considered by the IEC, are likely to have a material effect on the outcome of the elections, and/or the inherent system’s weakness,” he said.

Ngubane said although the MK Party was in possession of a large and growing body of evidence to support instances of material irregularities and vote rigging, no useful purpose would be served by including such information at a hearing in the apex court.

Ngubane said that although the IEC granted condonation to the more than 25 parties on June 1 to make objections, its chairperson Mosotho Moepya announced that the results would be declared the following day despite there being 579 unresolved objections.

“The aforesaid unlawful declaration of the results had further consequences or sequelae, including the allocation of seats on the basis of disputed results.

“This in turn had consequences for the allocation of designated representatives of parties in the National Assembly as well as the handing over of their lists to the Chief Justice and/or the Secretary of Parliament.”

Ngubane also said that the first sitting of the National Assembly could not survive the illegality of preceding steps and raised the crashing of the IEC’s results system and dashboard that did not operate for almost two hours on May 31.

He said the report of experts MK Party procured in defects in IEC’s IT system raised more serious questions than answers.

Meanwhile, the party’s expelled founder Jabulani Khumalo has turned to the Western Cape High Court on an urgent basis to interdict the removal of his name from the list of the party’s newly-elected MPs.

Khumalo brought the application, to be heard today or soon thereafter, pending part B application where he will challenge his expulsion from the MK party.

In Khumalo’s application, Speaker of the National Assembly, George and Zuma were cited as respondents.

Khumalo is requesting the court to order his reinstatement on the MK Party’s parliamentary candidate list as the number one pending his part B application and pending the Electoral Court judgement, including appeals.

He also wants an interdict that prohibits the MK Party and Zuma or anyone acting on their behalf from removing his name from the list of the party’s newly-elected MPs.

The MK Party previously said it will remove Khumalo from its list of MPs.

Khumalo recently launched an application in the Electoral Court wanting to be reinstated as the leader of the MK Party by the Independent Electoral Commission after he was replaced with Zuma.

In an interview, Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said they would abide by the court’s ruling on the matter.

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