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Elections now free and fair? MK Party members to be sworn in as MPs

Parliament has confirmed that 58 members of the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party who ditched the first sitting of the National Assembly will be sworn in on Tuesday, 25 June. 

The MK Party ditched the first sitting, citing discrepancies in the electoral process of the 29 May polls. The party also urged Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Secretary to Parliament Xolile George to postpone the first sitting of the National Assembly, claiming it would not be constitutional. However, other members from various political parties took their oath of office on Friday, 14 June.  

MK PARTY MEMBERS TO BE SWORN IN AS MPS

As per the Constitution, members of the National Assembly must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution before they perform their duties.  

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the swearing-in of original nominees from the MK Party list will be presided over by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo or a judge designated by him, as this is the inaugural swearing-in of these Members following the National and Provincial Elections.

Mothapo said Speaker of the National Assembly Thoko Didiza will administer the oath to nominated members after the first sitting.

“By the provisions of the Act, political parties may supplement or fill any vacancies that may occur on their candidates’ lists before the first swearing-in after elections.

“This ensures that all designated seats are filled and parties are fully represented. Parliament has received an indication from the MK Party regarding supplementing their candidate list with 21 members. All required travel and accommodation logistics are being arranged in preparation for the swearing-in ceremony,” Mothapo said.

WHY DID THE PARTY LAUNCH AN URGENT COURT BID?

The MK Party filed papers with the Constitutional Court to interdict the swearing-in of party-nominated candidates as members of the National Assembly until their grievances, which the party said are premised on allegations of election fraud and rigging, are thoroughly addressed by the courts.

The Constitutional Court dismissed the application.

Ahead of filing the court papers, MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the authorities dismissed their request, saying that the inaugural session must occur within 14 days of the election results.

“Despite our legally sound and legitimate objections, the parliament’s response disregarded our request by spearheading an agenda to proceed regardless of such concerns, which are serious in their nature,” he said.

In light of the MK Party’s expressed decision, not to attend the first sitting, Parliament cancelled all arrangements for accommodation and flights for the party’s elected members,” he said. 

At the time, Mothapo said the measure was to avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditure, in compliance with the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2009.

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