March 19, 2024

Judgment reserved in the ANC and IEC matter

Former President Jacob Zuma was in court today to hear arguments in the case by the ANC to have his new party de-registered
Photo: Mkhonto Wesizwe

The Electoral Court sitting in Bloemfontein in the Free State has reserved its judgment in the case between the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the The African National Congress (ANC),where the ruling party is challenging the registration of Jacob Zuma's new political party, uMkhonto weSizwe Party. The ANC wants the court to declare MK's registration in September 2023 as invalid and unlawful. The new party bears the same name as the disbanded ANC military wing.


The MK party submitted its registration application on 1 June 2023, but was rejected by the IEC after deputy chief electoral officer (CEO) Mawethu Mosery found the registration to be irregular. In a response letter to the party in August 2023, Mosery explained that the application was rejected due to fraudulent voter signatures submitted by the party. Mosery, in the letter told the party to submit a new registration. The party supplemented their application the same month and their registration was signed by Mosery in September 2023. The party was registered by Jabulani Khumalo to an address in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal. When the ANC learnt that MK Party did not submit a new application, they lodged an objection with the IEC in the same month ,September, appealing that the commission set aside Mosery's decision to register MK Party. The appeal was rejected by the IEC.


In her argument in court today, the ANC's counsel Advocate Sesi Baloyi said it was unlawful for the IEC to accept the party's supplementation of its initial application instead of submitting a new application. Baloyi told the court that their reliance on the letter sent by the commission to the party rejecting their application to register as a political party is because it is evidence of a decision made. " The IEC rejected the MK Party's application and told them to make a new registration, the IEC already rejected an application from MK Party. it did not have the power to invite the party to supplement its application. If we succeed in this case, we want to see the de-registration of the MK Party," she said.


The IEC argued in court today that the ANC knew of Mosery's decision to register the party and understood that it could be challenged but did not do so in time. IEC counsel Advocate Terry Motau told the court that the ANC appealed MK's registration last year and the appeal was rejected as they failed to object to the MK party's registration within the prescribed timeline. Motaung argued that this should have been the end of the matter. "We are faced with a case where the ANC faithfully followed the Electoral Act which yielded an outcome by the IEC, which rejected the appeal. It cannot be correct that once faced with that decision, that a party can elect that it's not going to impugn that decision," Motau argued.


Addressing ANC supporters outside court, secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula said the ruling party is confident of the arguments they have put forward before the court. "We are fighting a battle there inside and legally and it continues, and we respect the court for them to give us an opportunity to explain ourselves. That's what the electoral court is meant for,' Mbalula said. He also accused MK Party of stealing the ANC's assets referring to the trademark, calling it a part of the counter revolution propaganda aimed at communicating a multiplicity of political outposts all claiming legitimacy from the proud history of the ANC. "Sowing seeds of confusion as basis to scatter the movement and derail the united action of our people has been the headway to counter the potency of the ANC, the Alliance and the mass democratic movement.' Mbalula said. Meanwhile, former President Jacob Zuma who has been named as MK Party leader explained the difference between the disbanded ANC's uMkhonto weSizwe military wing and the now existing MK political party. "We know the history of uMkhonto, that was a military wing which has since been disbanded and ours is a political party which South Africans will know the real meaning of freedom through," he said. The judge in the matter said parties will be informed when judgment will be delivered.

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