MK Party distances itself from its KZN leader after he threatens anarchy

MK Party member in KwaZulu-Natal Visvin Reddy. Supplied

MK Party member in KwaZulu-Natal Visvin Reddy. Supplied

Published Mar 8, 2024


The uMkhonto weSizwe Party has distanced itself from its KwaZulu-Natal leader, Visvin Reddy, after he warned of anarchy if the party is blocked from contesting the upcoming general elections.

Besides distancing itself, the party through its spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela also asserted, without naming him, that Reddy was purporting to be their member.

Reddy caused an outcry after the Durban High Court, on Tuesday, announced that the case between the ANC and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) would be postponed to March 27.

Speaking outside the court and captured on video that went viral, Reddy accused the ANC of doing everything in their power to stop his party from contesting the May elections.

He said there would be no elections on May 29 if the MK Party was barred from being on the ballot.

The ruling party is at loggerheads with the IEC, challenging in court the registration of the MK Party with the name and logo similar to that of their military wing, the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).

Reddy initially said in the 49-second video clip: “You don’t have the trademark on this MK logo so what gives you the right to claim that MK belongs to you? You have no chance in court but 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. No South African will go to the polls if MK is not on the ballot.”

Reddy’s phone was off yesterday when The Star attempted to get a comment on the matter.

However, in the statement, Ndhlela said the party did not support or promote any form of violence.

He said the party leadership and its members watched “with chagrin the video laced with threats purporting to be from a member of our party”.

“The MK Party distances itself from the threats contained in that video, as it is not the policy of the party to threaten anyone and/or the upcoming general elections.

“As a registered political party, we uphold and defend the rights of every South African to exercise their rights to free activity, and to vote in a climate that is devoid of any threat or hindrance of any kind.

“We also support the work of the IEC to ensure free and fair elections. uMkhonto weSizwe Party also appreciates and respects the rules as laid down for political parties, which aim to foster a conducive climate for free and fair elections … We will neither make pronouncements nor incite anyone to undermine the work of the IEC, as this can have devastating consequences, including violence,” he said.

The party condemned the incident, saying that any member who steps out of line would be made to account for bringing it into disrepute, and threatening to disrupt a democratic process.

He also used the opportunity to take a jab at the ANC .

“Unlike MK Party, it is the ANC in its nature that is rife with leaders and members who incite violence through their irresponsible political rhetoric. This has been demonstrated by their violent acts during the by-elections in Pongola, and yet even so, MK Party members remained disciplined and did not retaliate to their barbaric behaviour,” Ndhlela said.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned those threatening violence ahead of the elections that they will be arrested by law enforcement agencies.

The IEC has warned the MK Party against threats of violence. The ANC also warned against threats by Reddy.

Ramaphosa said yesterday the law will take its course if people perpetrated violence in the elections.

He said they have been hearing these threats to destabilise the country, but law enforcement agencies are following up on those making threats, and arrests will follow.

Ramaphosa was in Mpumalanga for a government imbizo when he said there were other ways to address concerns people have on any issue. However, the government will not tolerate violence.

“We have been hearing that, and I just want to make it very clear to anyone who is threatening any form of unrest, they will be followed up and they will be arrested. Those are people who belong in jail.

“Those are people who are the enemies of our democracy. The people of South Africa value this hard-won democracy and they don’t want any form of instability and we have always followed the rule of law. When you are dissatisfied with any decision, be it a government decision, the president’s decision, a minister’s decision, even a court’s decision, there are ways in which all those complaints can be followed up.

“For anyone to say that if this does not happen, they are going to have instability. It’s against the will of the people of South Africa, and I can promise you, those people will be followed up, we will arrest them and they do not belong as part of the South African community that wants stability. That is going to happen,” said Ramaphosa. | Additional reporting by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

The Star

[email protected]