ANC loses court bid to deregister MK party

The ANC has challenged the registration of uMkhonto weSizwe party in court. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / Independent Newspapers

The ANC has challenged the registration of uMkhonto weSizwe party in court. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 26, 2024


The court application by the African National Congress (ANC) to deregister uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party failed in the Electoral Court.

Judge Lebogang Modiba said the ANC had no basis and the application was dismissed.

“We find there is nothing unlawful about registration of MK party by the deputy chief electoral officer,” said the court, adding that the ANC had failed on two occasions to challenge the registration of MK last year.

The future of the MK party was hanging in the balance after the ANC challenged its registration in the Electoral Court.

Modiba said this was a unanimous judgment of the court.

The court said if the ANC’s relief was granted it would be too late for the MK party to be deregistered. The ANC had two opportunities to oppose the registration of the MK party.

Modiba said the ANC had itself to blame for failing to challenge the registration of the MK party.

She said the ANC acknowledged it brought the application beyond the prescribed period. The ANC was barred from bringing an application unless it showed good cause.

“The impugned the decision was made on September 7, 2023, it brought the application in January 2024.

“The ANC’s explanation is irrational because it does justify the delay. It is irrelevant it became aware of the letter in January 2024,” said Judge Modiba.

The ANC’s case was that the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Masego Sheburi, acted unlawfully when he registered the MK party.

The matter was heard in court in Bloemfontein last week, but judgment will be delivered in the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday.

The ANC has argued that the MK party was not supposed to have been registered by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) because the party’s application was flawed.

But the IEC and MK party have said everything was above board and the application needed to go through.

The MK party also argued that the ANC did not oppose MK party’s registration until former president Jacob Zuma announced he was joining the party.

Jabulani Khumalo registered the MK party in September last year.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula accused former president Jacob Zuma of stealing the property of the ANC as MK was formed by the ANC in 1961 as its military wing.

Zuma announced his intention to vote for the MK party in December last year.

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) took a decision to suspend him from the party.

At the time, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe said they did not want to deal with the Zuma issue now because it was going to distract the ANC from its election campaign.

Zuma was also axed by the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in KwaZulu-Natal for failing to attend a single meeting of the organisation since he was elected provincial chairperson last year.

Zuma has been campaigning for the MK party since the beginning of the year.

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