Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Zuma's MK party asks Zondo to interdict first sitting of parliament

by Staff reporter
10 Jun 2024 at 04:22hrs | Views
The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party said on Monday it had instructed its lawyers to ask the constitutional court for an urgent interdict to prohibit parliament from proceeding with the swearing in of new MPs and the election of the president next week.

In a statement, MK said it did so after the secretary to parliament "disregarded our request" not proceed with the swearing in of new MPs in light of the party's intention to challenge the outcome of the May elections in court.

It has not set out the basis on which it plans to challenge the outcome of the election, in which it won 14.5% of votes, but said it suspected "possible election fraud and rigging".

"Allowing the National Assembly to sit amidst such significant doubts on the legal validity of the election process, would be a betrayal of the electorate's trust."

In a letter of demand to parliament  last week, advocate Nqobile Zungu wrote: "We argue that the unresolved objections and the veracity of the substance by MK party and other

parties who represent the will of the people, render this ‘market-based' declaration, and consequently the sitting and all of its activities unconstitutional."

The MK party's 58 nominees for the National Assembly will boycott the ceremony scheduled for next Monday, Zungu said.

He then argued that this would mean that anything that happens in that sitting will be null and void, including MPs' election of the president.

"Legally, the absence of MK party members will prevent achieving the composition of the 350 members required to lawfully constitute the National Assembly, further invalidating the session which aims to appoint the president and therefore the government of the country," MK reiterated in its statement.

Zungu said this was a separate requirement in law "from the quorum required for a properly constituted National Assembly" in chapter 4 of the Constitution.

Should parliament dispute the MK's interpretation of the Constitution in this regard, Zungu said the party would call upon the courts to resolve the dispute.

In reply to MK's demand, parliament's chief financial adviser, Zuraya Adhikarie, said the sitting would proceed as planned.

"I do not agree with your interpretation and am of the view that the secretary to parliament is legally bound to facilitate the first sitting of parliament at a date and time to be determined by the chief justice," she wrote.

"Accordingly, unless and until the elections results are set aside by a court pursuant to section 49(3) of the Constitution, parliament must ensure that the sittings take place as directed."

Adhikarie added that since the MK party was not planning on sending its members to the sitting, parliament would cancel their travel and accommodation benefits.

"Given your correspondence, we will instruct the officials to cancel all arrangements in respect of accommodation and flights for your client's elected members so as not to incur fruitless and wasteful expenditure in contravention of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2009."

Source - The Mail & Guardian