Claws out in ANC and MK Party legal battle

The governing party asked for an urgent review of MK Party’s registration with the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC). Picture: File

The governing party asked for an urgent review of MK Party’s registration with the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC). Picture: File

Published Mar 20, 2024


While the ANC asked the Electoral Court, sitting in Bloemfontein, to set aside the decision to register the uMKhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) due to what it deemed irregularities in the registration process, counsel for the MKP said the ANC only ran to court once former president Jacob Zuma announced he would campaign and vote for the MKP.

The parties met each other yesterday in a battle launched by the ANC to see the MKP deregistered from participating in the upcoming elections.

The governing party asked for an urgent review of MK Party’s registration with the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).

The ANC said after the MK Party’s application for registration was initially rejected because it did not meet the prescribed requirements, the MK Party then unlawfully supplemented its application, instead of submitting a new one.

According to the ANC, the IEC should have never allowed this.

The IEC maintained this was above board and that it has done its duty and followed due process as per the act.

But the ANC objected to MK Party’s registration on various grounds, which included that the party did not correctly gazette its intention to register as a political party, thus not giving the public the opportunity to object to the move, if they so wished.

The IEC initially rejected the party’s application for registration as there were some defects in the application, but later did register the party in the upcoming elections following an supplemented application.

The ANC, however, maintained that MK Party should have brought a “fresh” application and should not have been allowed to merely supplement its previous application which was turned down by the IEC.

Advocate Sesi Baloyi SC, said the rejection of MK Party’s initial application was not an invitation to resubmit by way of amending its original application. Besides, she said, the IEC did not have the power to invite the MK Party to supplement its application.

She did admit that what the ANC’s ultimate goal with its review application before the Electoral Court, is to see the MK Party deregistered.

Asked by the court whether the ANC should not have taken the matter to the IEC to internally decide on, rather than tasking this court with the matter, Baloyi said the ANC is unhappy with the irregularities of the application process of the MK Party and only this court could rule on it via a review application.

Terry Motau SC, for the IEC meanwhile, argued that the ANC did not challenge the registration of the MK Party in time. The ANC appealed the registration process and their appeal was rejected. He told the court that that should have been the end of the matter.

Motau said when faced with the decision of the deputy chief officer, the ANC knew the decision was appealable, but they did so out of time.

Advocate Dali Mpofu for the MK Party in turn argued that the ANC’s application is misconceived and should be dismissed. He took preliminary points which included that the ANC failed to object to the MK Party’s registration within the prescribed timelines.

Mpofu argued that the ANC elected not to challenge the decision to register the MK Party in September, but waited until January to lodge its review.

“So what changed? The only thing is when former president Zuma announced that he would campaign and vote for the MK Party,” Mpofu said.

He said this was a desperate reaction by the ANC and an abuse of the court process.

“There is no other logical explanation,” Mpofu said.

Mpofu said the ANC was negligent. “They did not do what they should have done”. He said when their appeal against the registration of the MK Party failed, they should have turned to court within the prescribed time. He said failing to do so meant that the ANC accepted that decision.

But, he argued, the court should not even get to the point of deciding on the merits of the ANC’s case. He said this court clearly lacked jurisdiction to hear this matter. “It is not a question of whether you are going to win or lose. It is whether the court has the power (to hear the matter).”

Shortly before the end of yesterday’s proceedings, one of the Judges asked Baloyi (acting for the ANC) whether the party wanted the court to undermine the internal dispute resolution offered by the IEC in matters like this. “Can we do that,” the judge asked.

Baloyi responded that the IEC would have said that it does not have the jurisdiction to decide on the dispute.

Judgment was reserved.

Pretoria News

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