Wrangling over MK Party logo threatens to weaken ANC case

Published Apr 20, 2024


Internal wrangling concerning the rightful ownership of the MK logo is threatening to boil over and throw the matter up in the air and weaken the ANC’s argument in court.

Despite court papers filed confirming that the logo has been handed over to the governing party, The Saturday Star understands that the move does not have the blessing of one of the key members of the (NPO) Legacy Project, the legal owners of the logo, who is holding out.

The Saturday Star further understands that the member has highlighted that even though Rapetsi Montsho has publicly, and in court papers, said the organisation has “ceded” the logo to the ANC, there are no minutes to support this.

However, reports suggest that the trademark is now ceded to the ANC, meaning the governing party now owns the trademark, paving a way for a court battle involving the NPO.

This week, The Star, sister paper to the Saturday Star, reported that a war of words had erupted over the trademark playing out in court between the MKP and the ANC.

At the heart of the legal debate is a question about the legitimate owner of the logo of a figure with a spear and shield.

The Star previously reported that Mangisi Khumalo, a member of Legacy Projects, a non-profit organisation, registered the trademark on August 20, 2014, with the registration number 2014/22089.

A search on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website proved that the logo trademark belonged to Legacy Projects. The CIPC is the legal custodian of trademarks and intellectual property.

Khumalo also shared documents, authenticated by law firm Adams and Adams, proving that he registered the logo.

Three weeks ago, judgment was reserved by the Durban High Court over the logo showdown between the two parties.

However, neither the ANC, nor the MKP could prove to court that they could claim the trademark, because they had both failed to register it as a trademark.

In what seems to be a U-turn, controversial artist and politician, Tebogo Sethathu, has admitted that he is not the chairperson of the Legacy Project after claiming recently, in a press release, that he was part and parcel of the organisation.

In the statement released on March 25, Sethathu wrote: “We, the Legacy Projects, wish to put it on record that after some very serious deliberations internally and considerations, we have decided to break our silence on our right to defend our intellectual property.”

But Sethathu, speaking to The Star yesterday, has since back-pedalled on the matter, saying he had no relationship with Legacy Projects.

“I decided to withdraw any participation and any engagement with Legacy Projects, upon realising that there was conflict among the directors,” he said.

Sethathu also referred to Khumalo as a fraudster, despite him proving that he was the one who registered the trademark.

He said he was going to be roped in as one of the directors of the non-profit organisation to run programmes.

Asked why he was calling Khumalo a fraudster, Sethathu said he was returning the favour.

“This was purely based on his utterances related to me being a fraudster, of which I returned the favour by calling him a fraudster,” he said.

However, Khumalo said based on the evidence presented by him, the public could judge for themselves who the real fraudster was.

Sethathu added that the non-profit organisation had made a commitment that the organisation’s directors had taken a decision to appoint him as a director. A signature was the only item required. Assertions about this were dismissed on national television by one of the directors, Rapitse Montsho.

Sethathu also confirmed that he had called law firm Adams and Adams numerous times. They confirmed that Khumalo had registered the logo on behalf of Legacy Projects.

He said that the ANC had no right to claim ownership of the logo.

“The ANC has no locus standi in the matter as they do not own the logo. Their acts are of pure desperation due to the MK Party being registered with the IEC, and backed by president (Jacob) Zuma to contest and win the elections,” Sethathu said.

Montsho refused to comment on the matter.

However, speaking on national television Montsho labelled Sethathu as a liar who was never going to be part of the Legacy Projects.

“I’m surprised that you are entertaining a press statement that is false. This young boy (Sethathu) comes here and says he is not part of the logo and yet he has sent a statement that says so. We have registered ourselves as the MK legacy and that young boy is not part of us.

“He was never going to be part of us… I called him and I said he should stay away from the media. The next thing I saw him on television and didn’t understand what it was about.

“The project is registered under CIPC and it’s got a registered trademark and all you needed to do was search and find out who the directors were and he was not part of them,” Montsho said.

Saturday Star

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