Only court of law can stop first sitting of Parliament: Expert

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A Constitutional Law Expert Lufuno Nevondwe says only a court of law can stop the first sitting of Parliament from convening. This comes as the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party wrote to the Chief Justice and Parliament for the sitting not to convene.

The MK Party in unhappy with the elections results threatening court action should the first sitting continue.  The Chief Justice today announced that the first sitting of the Assembly would take place on Friday morning.

It will start with the swearing-in of Members of the Assembly, followed by the election of the Speaker, Deputy and President.

The NCOP sitting will take place on Saturday.

“So, at this stage, there is no court order which interdicts the first sitting. The fact that Umkhonto weSizwe Party is challenging the results of the election does not mean the first sitting of Parliament cannot happen. Remember in terms of the Constitution, the first sitting of Parliament must happen within 14 days after the results have been announced. And the results have been announced officially on the 2nd of June 2024. And from that date we then have 14 days for a first sitting,” says Nevondwe.

Meanwhile, Parliament says it has cancelled all flight and accommodation arrangements for members of the MK Party, 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 therefore doesn’t view the first sitting as constitutional and accordingly and instructed its 58 elected MPs to boycott the first sitting.

In the 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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