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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

ConCourt dismisses MK party’s urgent bid to halt Parliament

The Constitutional Court has rejected uMkhonto weSizwe party's urgent application to prevent the first sitting of the new parliament.

The Constitutional Court has dismissed the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party’s urgent application to interdict Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Parliament from proceeding with the first sitting of the new parliament on Friday.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party filed the urgent application at the apex court on Tuesday.

The MK party sought for direct access to the ConCourt, which it argued in papers had “exclusive jurisdiction” to decide on its two-part application to interdict Parliament’s first sitting from going ahead on Friday, and included an attempt to overturn the outcome of the national and provincial elections.

Not in ConCourt’s jurisdiction

In a judgment late on Wednesday night, the Court concluded that neither the decision nor conduct engaged its jurisdiction in terms of Section 167(4)(e).

“Additionally, it is not in the interest of justice to grant direct access as the impugned decisions or conduct first arose between 1 and 2 June 2024, to the knowledge of the applicant. However, despite this knowledge, the applicant only launched the application on 10 June 2024,” the judgment read. 

ALSO READ: MK party’s ConCourt bid to interdict Parly unlikely to succeed – Expert

“The applicant has failed to show any justification for not bringing this application sooner when it was aware of the constitutional requirements to convene the National Assembly no later than 14 days after the declaration of the election results. In the circumstances, the urgency is thus self-created.”

Party didn’t show that it will suffer irreparable harm

The apex court’s judgment added that the MK party did not make a case for the granting of an interim interdict as it didn’t show that it will suffer irreparable harm if the interdict is not granted, nor that “the balance of convenience favours the granting of the interdict.”

In the court papers, Zuma’s party claims “hundreds of thousands of votes” were stolen from it during the national and provincial elections, but told the apex court it won’t provide its “large and growing body of evidence at this stage”.

“In addition, the applicant has not adduced facts to establish a prima facie case in respect of the relief [it] will seek in the main application in order to sustain an interim interdict pending the main application,” the ConCourt judgment said.

The relief sought has consequences for the other parties who were not served with property, according to the ConCourt, therefore, the party’s recognition of its own irregular service while continuing with its application cannot be sustained.

“Even if the applicant met all the requirements for direct access, absent proper service, the applicant cannot be entitled to the relief sought. Consequentially, the application must be dismissed. The Court has decided not to award costs.”

ALSO READ: MK party files urgent application to ConCourt to interdict first sitting of Parliament

MK party’s interpretation of the law

In its court papers, the MK party said the National Assembly cannot be properly constituted unless there are at least 350 members of Parliament present to form a quorum, as prescribed in Section 46 of the Constitution.

Parliament, which has constituted a National Assembly for six administrations before, has indicated that it does not agree with the MK party’s interpretation of the law.

Zuma’s party has 58 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel

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