MK Party’s bid to oust KZN premier gets a boost

The right of KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli, left, to oversee the running of the province is hotly contested by MK Party and its leader, Jacob Zuma, right.

The right of KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli, left, to oversee the running of the province is hotly contested by MK Party and its leader, Jacob Zuma, right.

Published Jun 24, 2024


Durban — The uMkhonto weSizwe Party’s (MKP) court bid challenging the election of the IFP’s Thami Ntuli as KwaZulu-Natal premier has received a boost after a separate case was opened.

As the MKP was evidently not going down without a fight, Srinivasen Vardarajulu Naidoo, the chairperson of non-profit organisation Real Democracy, joined in and filed his supplementary statement regarding what he called “the procedural and legal violations that occurred during the first sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature on 14th June 2024 in Pietermaritzburg”.

In his statement, which he will also submit to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Naidoo said the first sitting was riddled with many irregularities.

“The actions taken during the election process were in direct violation of established laws and principles designed to ensure free, fair, and secret ballot elections.

“The failure to adhere to these laws compromised the integrity of the election and the rights of the members to vote freely and confidentially, and placed the appointments of speaker, deputy speaker and premier in jeopardy…

“I respectfully request that these violations be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate legal actions be taken against those responsible for undermining the democratic process,” he said.

Naidoo said he would submit his statement to the JSC, the Legal Practice Council, and the Law Society of South Africa for further investigation.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Premier and IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Like Naidoo, the Jacob Zuma-led MKP is citing a litany of irregularities and the alleged flouting of the election process when Ntuli was elected a week ago with 41 votes out of the 80 in the provincial legislature sitting.

Ntuli is also the chairperson of the IFP in KZN and former mayor of King Cetshwayo District Municipality, a position he was forced to relinquish after he was elected as premier recently.

The 41 votes came from the IFP-ANC-DA and NFP coalition under the banner of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The marathon legislature meeting also saw the re-election of the ANC’s Nontembeko Boyce as speaker, and the DA’s Mmabatho Tembe as her deputy.

But now a legal showdown is on the cards as the MKP approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have that sitting nullified.

MKP’s Member of Provincial Legislature (MPL), Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa, a former government administrator, said the party will expose all the irregularities in court soon.

“We saw everything that happened. We raised this issue, but the presiding judge (KZN Judge President Thoba Portia Poyo-Dlwati) ignored us.”

Mbanjwa claimed that some members of the IFP-ANC-DA and the NFP coalition brazenly flouted the processes, alleging that after voting they turned around to show other MPLs how they had voted.

This is in spite of the voting being conducted through a secret ballot, said Mbanjwa.

“People were doing all sorts of things during that sitting. Some after voting will show their fellow MPL (who) they’re in coalition with. We want the court to scrap that sham sitting and call a fresh sitting where processes will be strictly followed,” said Mbanjwa, who was once Zuma’s adviser.

Former president Jacob Zuma now leads the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

The IFP-ANC-DA and NFP coaltion is unfazed by the MKP’s legal bid.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the disputed sitting was “legitimately constituted”.

“However, the MK Party is at liberty to approach the court. It is well within its right to take that route, but we’ll defend ourselves when that time comes for us to do so,” said Hlengwa.

Mafika Mndebele, the ANC’s provincial spokesperson, also said that the MKP had a right to approach the country’s courts, but stressed that the sitting was “above board”.

“Everything there was done by the law. But we as the ANC had fought for the country’s justice system to open its doors to everyone. If the MK Party wants to go to court, it is well within its rights,” said Mndebele.

Like Hlengwa, Mndebele vowed that the MKP’s court bid would be rigorously challenged.

Dean Macpherson, the DA’s provincial chairperson, said: “The opposition are welcome to challenge any matter they wish before a court of law, which I am sure will be defended vigorously.”

A political analyst from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Zakhele Ndlovu, said: “There are very slim chances of succeeding for the MK Party in court. It would be very difficult for a new sitting to be called unless they convince the court that there was foul play.”

KZN was one of the bitterly contested terrains during the May elections.

Upping the stakes was the control of the provincial budget of R150 billion and the control of government businesses that included – among others – the Agribusiness Development Agency and the Dube TradePort Corporation.

The MKP raked in 45% of the votes in the province, leading to 37 seats in the 80-member provincial legislature. Despite this, the party was upstaged by the GNU bloc.

Police confirmed that a case was lodged at the Prestbury police station on Friday.

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