Parliament to be seated with or without the uMkhonto weSizwe Party on Friday

South Africa Parliament to be seated on Friday with or without MK Party . Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

South Africa Parliament to be seated on Friday with or without MK Party . Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Published Jun 13, 2024


Cape Town - With one day left before the 7th democratic Parliament is sworn in and the president elected, analysts believe that the uMkhonto weSizwe Party’s (MKP) boycott of the first sitting of the National Assembly won’t halt the business of the day.

The MKP, which earlier this week indicated that its 58 elected members would not be attending the first sitting, in a dispute over, as yet, unproved claims that the national election was rigged. The party has also called for the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to recount ballots.

The party, led by former president Jacob Zuma, has also filed court papers with the Constitutional Court in a bid to block tomorrow’s sitting.

In its legal papers, the MKP alleged that the IEC was wrong to call the results of the national elections free and fair. It also states that holding Friday’s parliamentary sitting would be unconstitutional, and that there would not be enough members present. It is also demanding that the president call another election within 90 days.

“We wish to reiterate that our position remains unchanged and that we will attend Parliament proceedings only based on the outcomes of the court proceedings.

“While we deeply respect the will of the people who elected us to serve in Parliament in order to change the current neo-liberal Constitution and ensure expropriation of land without compensation, among others, we believe that our votes, and therefore the voices of all our voters are incomplete,” the party said.

“Attending the first sitting of Parliament without all our votes and voices being counted would betray our commitment to unity and democratic values where every voice and wish deserves to be heard,” it said.

Political analyst and lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Siyabonga Ntombela said the MKP’s no-show at the first sitting won’t prevent Parliament from electing the president.

“My prediction is that the MKP will be in the vicinity of Parliament but will not be attending as MPs. The House will have a quorum of more than 133 MPs. The speaker will be elected and the president, but there will be a commotion after that, especially if Cyril Ramaphosa is re-elected. The MKP will not be party to the election of their arch-enemy,” said Ntombela.

Lawson Naidoo, executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, commented on MKP’s court application.

He said there was not enough substance in the party’s document to warrant the intervention of the Constitutional Court.

“The Constitution is very clear: Section 46 of the Constitution speaks to the electoral system that we have in South Africa, and that system must accommodate a minimum of 350 and a maximum of 400 members,” Naidoo pointed out.

“If one looks at Section 53, it is very clear as it lays out what the quorum of the National Assembly is. In the case of the election of the speaker, president, and deputy speaker a basic quorum of one-third of the members of the National Assembly – which is 133 – needs to be present.

“If the majority of those 133 members vote for a presidential candidate, we will then have a president. The ANC has 159 seats in the assembly, and if those members show up, we will then have a quorum,” he said.