‘Court’s decision to postpone MK Party election case could increase the risk of political unrest’

The Supreme Court says it will make its ruling on the Umkhonto Wesizwe Party matter on Tuesday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Media

The Supreme Court says it will make its ruling on the Umkhonto Wesizwe Party matter on Tuesday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Media

Published Mar 25, 2024


If the court takes too long to decide on the fate of the Umkhonto weSizwe Party, it could increase the risk of political unrest.

This is according to political analyst at the Nelson Mandela University, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu.

Mngomezulu's comments come following the Electoral Court’s postponement on whether or not the Umkhonto weSizwe party (MK Party) may contest this year's elections.

The ANC approached the courts to question the validity of the MK Party, which is being led by former president, Jacob Zuma.

Earlier on Monday, the court issued a notice that the decision will be delivered in the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday at 9am.

Speaking to IOL, Mngomezulu said postponing the case in the first place was not supposed to happen, especially given the national interest in this matter.

He said the postponement of the judgment further raises speculation and emotions.

"My feeling is that the judges know what is at stake and thus want to apply their mind assiduously. While the judiciary is independent, it would be foolhardy to rule that the MK party should be removed from the list of parties.

“A legal decision sometimes considers the political impact. The longer it takes to conclude on this matter the more complex the situation will be, and the higher the chances of political unrest," Mngomezulu said.

According to political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, there were two possible reasons for the postponement.

Seepe, said the first could be that the Electoral Commission (IEC) may have erred in registering the MK Party.

"The party can not be faulted in this regard and should therefore not be prejudiced," he said.

Seepe explained that to do so risks people reading this to mean that the courts have taken a political side.

"This will fuel perceptions that they are now party of state machinery to undermine the MK Party as part of a continuous attack on the former President Jacob Zuma,“ he said.

The second reason Seepe explained was that the court could be trying to find a middle ground, which will entail that the MK Party should vary its name slightly.

Legal expert, Lawson Naidoo, said postponements are not uncommon.

“The matter was heard last week so it’s a quick turnaround for judgment. There may just be a delay in finalising the judgment. It’s not an ordinate delay. Judgment was meant to be handed down today and it will be handed down tomorrow,” he said.

Naidoo said he did not think there was anything untoward taking place.

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