SOWETAN SAYS | MKP should back up claim of vote rigging

MK supporters outside the Durban high court earlier this year.
MK supporters outside the Durban high court earlier this year.
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart/File

The MK Party has launched a bid to stop the sitting of the National Assembly tomorrow, arguing that without its 58 members who plan to boycott the sitting, the house cannot be regarded as properly constituted. 

The party maintains, based on alleged evidence it claims to have, that SA’s election was rigged. 

In its challenge in the Constitutional Court, the party seeks an urgent interdict to prevent the convening of a new parliament tomorrow. 

It argues based on a reading of section 46(1) of the constitution that a National Assembly should have no fewer than 350 members and no more than 400 members. 

It wants the apex court to agree that the 342 members who will be in the house falls short of what could be considered a legally constituted assembly. 

At the time of writing, the court had yet to indicate if it will entertain the application. 

The reality, however, is that time is running out and it may be unrealistic for the court to hear the matter before the planned sitting. 

Furthermore, as many commentators have pointed out, the MK Party’s reading of the constitution appears to be flawed. 

The section upon which it relies further says that the act of parliament must then determine the number of members in the National Assembly. 

This number is 400, as it has been over successive administrations in our democracy. 

The other contention is whether the National Assembly can be regarded as a body with 400 elected members – as the section puts it – or only when they are sworn in can the house be considered to be properly constituted – as MKP argues. 

While it would be beneficial for the court to clear up some of these definitions, it is unlikely that this will happen now. 

This is why we must be mindful that this application is as much about our jurisprudence as it is, perhaps even more, about political expediency. 

Straight out of the Jacob Zuma’s litigious playbook, this application is about creating a basis on which to claim that the judiciary, if not agreeable to MKP’s demands, is part of some political conspiracy to victimise him. 

If the MK Party had, as it claims, evidence of vote rigging, there is nothing stopping it from releasing this to help the public make informed decisions about its claims. 

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