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Constitutional Court Dismisses MK Party’s Bid to Stop National Assembly Sitting

by Central News Reporter
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The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court

CAPE TOWN – On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court dismissed the application by Jacob Zuma’s Umkhonto Wesizwe Party (MK Party) to prevent the first sitting of the National Assembly, scheduled for Friday. The Court ruled that the urgency cited by the party was self-created and lacked merit. No costs were awarded against the applicants.

MK Party, which garnered 58 parliamentary seats in the recent national elections, has decided to boycott the session, citing alleged irregularities in last month’s general election. However, the party has not provided evidence to substantiate these claims.

Umkhonto Wesizwe Party (MK Party)
Umkhonto Wesizwe Party (MK Party). Picture supplied

On 10 June 2024, the MK Party urgently filed papers with the Constitutional Court, seeking to halt the first assembly sitting. This application sought to prevent Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Secretary of Parliament Xolile George from convening the first sitting of the National Assembly on Friday.

The party argued that the scheduling of this first sitting was unconstitutional and announced that their elected members would boycott the event.

Constitutional Court’s Clear Ruling

In their decision, the Constitutional Court underscored that the urgency claimed by the MK Party was self-inflicted, as the party had delayed in bringing their case forward. Despite knowing about the constitutional requirement to convene the National Assembly no later than 14 days after the election results were announced, the party waited until 10 June 2024 to file their application.

“The urgency is self-created, and the application lacks substantive merit,” the ruling read. Furthermore, the Court found that the MK Party had misconstrued the relevant constitutional provisions they relied on and failed to establish a plausible case for their requested interim interdict.

Parliament’s Firm Stance

Parliamentary officials had dismissed the MK Party’s objections, maintaining that their interpretation of the constitution was flawed. They emphasised that Section 46 and Section 49(3) required Parliament to proceed with the sittings unless the election results were legally nullified.

“Parliament is legally bound to facilitate the first sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces at a date and time determined by the Chief Justice,” stated Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo. He also indicated that arrangements for travel and accommodation were underway for all members listed by the IEC to attend these sittings in Cape Town.

MK Party’s Stance and Boycott

In adhering to their boycott, the MK Party has resulted in Parliament cancelling accommodation and flight arrangements for the 58 elected MPs from the party. This move is to avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Moloto Mothapo reiterated that Parliament disagreed with the MK Party’s constitutional interpretation and underscored their duty to proceed with the constitutional mandate.

The Road Ahead

Despite the MK Party’s dissatisfaction, the first sitting of the National Assembly will proceed as planned on Friday. The National Assembly will elect a Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and the President following the swearing-in of the newly elected members.


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