MK unlikely to stop Parliament’s first sitting

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The independent judiciary monitoring organisation, Judges Matter, says it is unlikely that the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK)  Party will be able to stop Parliament’s first sitting.

This follows the party’s lawyers sending a letter of demand to the Secretary of Parliament and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, asking both offices to refrain from convening the first sitting of Parliament.

MK Party lawyers have told SABC News that failure to comply with the letter of demand would result in court action.

This demand comes after the IEC officially handed over lists of members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures to the Chief Justice, who then handed them over to the Secretary of Parliament, paving the way for the swearing-in of members soon.

The MK Party has had several grievances since the results were declared by the IEC, contending that these need to be resolved before the first sitting of Parliament.

The National Assembly has confirmed that the first sitting will go ahead as planned despite some political parties saying they won’t attend.

Research and Advocacy Officer at Judges Matter, Mbekezeli Benjamin says, “If anyone is aggrieved by the decision of the IEC on the election result – MK, and about 20 other parties had filed objections and the IEC had dismissed those objections. The Electoral Act says that they must, within three days, file an appeal with the Electoral Court – so if you’re not happy with how the IEC decided on the outcome of your objection. Then you can appeal to the Electoral Court. That appeal needed to go in by Wednesday last week, and I’m not sure whether the MK Party has filed that appeal – because if not, then unfortunately the ship has sailed.”

Parly cancels travel plans for MK party members – Mbekezeli Benjamin weighs in:

Meanwhile, Parliament has cancelled all flight and accommodation arrangements for members of the MK, in light of the party informing the institution that they will not attend the first sitting.

Parliament’s Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says they take note of the MK Party’s intent to challenge the validity of the election results.

MK has also indicated that it does not view the first sitting as constitutional and has accordingly instructed its 58 elected MPs to boycott the session.

In light of this official communication to Parliament, Mothapo says they have decided to make some cost-saving decisions.

“Because the first sittings of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces will take place physically, the Parliamentary administration is in the process of making arrangements to provide travel and accommodation for all members listed by the IEC, as handed over by the Chief Justice, to attend these sittings and the associated onboarding activities scheduled in Cape Town. In light of the MK Party’s expressed decision, through their legal representatives, not to attend the first sitting, Parliament has cancelled all arrangements for accommodation and flights for the party’s elected members. This measure is to avoid incurring fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” says Mothapo.

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