Electoral Court slaps MK Party’s Visvin Reddy and Bonginkosi Khanyile with R150,000 fines for anarchy comments

MK supporters sing and dance outside the South Gauteng high court as the MK name case continues with party president Jacob Zuma present. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

MK supporters sing and dance outside the South Gauteng high court as the MK name case continues with party president Jacob Zuma present. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 5, 2024


The Electoral Court has fined the Umkhonto weSizwe (MKP) party’s Visvin Reddy and Bonginkosi Khanyile R150,000 each - suspending the order for five years, for threatening anarchy, violence and riots ahead of the May 29 elections.

Reddy, who is now an MP for the MKP, and former MK Youth League leader Khanyile, made the comments in March amidst an air of nervousness about the registration of the MKP.

The court found the two guilty of contravening the electoral code for threatening to disrupt the elections. The 2024 national and provincial elections were held on May 29.

The matter gained attention after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) embarked on a legal challenge against Khanyile and Reddy’s inflammatory statements about the commission.

This was after the IEC said Zuma would not be disqualified from running for the presidency due to his 15-month sentence in prison.

Reddy and Khanyile made public statements threatening chaos and rioting in the event that the MKP was not registered and declaring that there would be no national elections in the event that party leader Jacob Zuma was taken off the ballot.

“We are sending a loud and clear message that if these courts, which are sometimes captured, try to stop the MK there will be anarchy in this country.

“There will be riots that have never been seen in this country. There will be no election. No South African will go to the polls if MK is not on the ballot,’’ said Reddy at the time.

In other gatherings of the MK, Reddy said “Hear me very carefully, this country will be turned into civil war the day MK is not allowed to campaign and to be on the ballot paper. No one will vote.”

Khanyile said all hell would break loose if Zuma and MKP were not allowed on the ballot paper come election day in May.

“f they remove the MKP and President Zuma from the ballot as the face of the campaign and try to take our rights, there won't be elections in South Africa,” he said.

Following the probe, the IEC had asked the court to impose a R200,000 fine.

The Electoral Court through Judge Esther Steyn concluded that Reddy had broken certain provisions in the Electoral Act. Steyn said that although there was no doubt that Reddy’s statements conveyed a serious threats of violence as well as intimidation at the time, the accused had attempted to apologise for his error.

Steyn said serious threats of violence and intimidation were communicated by means of Section 87 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, which forbids, among other things and anyone from interfering with the independence or impartiality of the IEC and preventing a person from exercising their right to vote.

“The intimidation was aimed at citizens not to vote. Moreover, these uttered threats also interfered with the commission’s work, especially the independence of the commission,” Steyn said.

Steyn was also lenient on Khanyile, saying that his party had already punished him by removing him from his position.

“In my view, having considered the various factors, imposing a maximum penalty of R200,000 would be disproportionate given the fact Mr Khanyile has already been punished by the MKP by removing him from his position as its youth leader,” she said.

The five-year suspension of the punitive action is contingent upon the respondents abstaining from any violations of applicable Act sections and refraining from making any remarks intended to sabotage any electoral processes in that period.