March 15, 2024

Outrage as MK youth league leader threatens violence if Zuma is not on the ballot

Bonginkosi Khanyile has been criticised for threatening violence during elections
Photo: MK

uMkhonto weSizwe Youth League (MKYL) interim leader Bonginkosi Khanyile has sparked outrage over threats that there will not be elections should the newly formed party leader, Jacob Zuma, be not be on the ballot paper. The former Fees Must Fall activist made the scathing remarks on Wednesday during a press conference where the league was addressing the media with regards to the members of MKYL being snubbed on the party's parliamentary list.


Addressing the media, Khanyile said: "If they remove the MK party and President Jacob Zuma from the ballot as the face of the campaign and try to take our rights, there won't be elections in South Africa. We are not joking. We mean it," he said. Khanyile further warned the MKYL members to stay away from attacking their party leaders for not choosing him or any MKYL leader in their parliamentary list. "If you are in the youth league, I am commanding you now, stay away from the parliamentary list, stay away, allow them to put whoever they want to put. Even if they don't put me on the list, it's okay. We will expel those who want to go and protest at the MK party offices just because some MKYL leaders are not in the parliamentary list. Stay away from the parliamentary list, let's go out and campaign for MK party to rescue our country," he said.


A week ago, KZN MK party leader Visvin Reddy made scathing remarks ,outside the Durban High Court, when he vowed that if the ANC and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tried to bar the MK party from contesting in the upcoming elections, there will be no elections. The ruling party has taken the IEC to court challenging the registration of MK party, which they say has the name and the log similar to that of their military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association. "We are sending a loud and clear message, if these courts which are sometimes captured try stop MK, there will be anarchy in this country. There will be riots like you have never seen in this country. There will be no elections," he said.

The party has since distanced themselves from both Reddy and Khanyile's comments. In a statement issued by spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhela, he said as a registered political party, they 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 neither make pronouncements nor incite anyone to undermine the work of the IEC, as this can have devastating consequences including violence," said Ndhlela.


Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said anybody who threatens violence when there are dispute-resolution mechanisms for either elections or any type of dispute, does not deserve to live among South Africans. "Law enforcement officers and agencies must make sure they are brought to justice, because there will not be mayhem. There will not be a repeat of the July 2021 unrest in this country when our law enforcement agencies are at work," she said. IEC's chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, also responded to the threats of violence by MKYL ahead of the elections on May 29. "If you want to discredit the process you don't do it on the day of elections, you have to do it in the buildup and when you lose on election day, you can say I told you. So that issue, it's a risk that we are alive to and we are doing some work quietly. There are engagements with the relevant parties and instances may eventuate where we are forced to approach the judiciary for intervention like the Electoral Court," he said.

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