Lindsay Dentlinger4 June 2024 | 6:26

MK looks to scupper election of new president with threat not to attend first Parliament sitting

The MK Party is looking to put Parliament in a legal predicament even before they set foot in the door.

MK looks to scupper election of new president with threat not to attend first Parliament sitting

A man wearing an MK Party shirt attends the Shekainah Healing Ministries Prophetic Pillowcase service where Former President Jacob Zuma is present, in Phillipi, near Cape Town, on March 10, 2024. Picture: A man wearing an MK Party shirt attends the Shekainah Healing Ministries Prophetic Pillowcase service where Former President Jacob Zuma was present, in Phillipi, near Cape Town, on March 10, 2024. Picture: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

CAPE TOWN - The MK Party is looking to scupper the election of a new president by threatening not to send its 58 members to the first sitting of Parliament. 

This over objections to last week’s polls and a demand of a vote recount. 

But constitutional law academic, Pierre de Vos, said that this move was unlikely to impact on the proceedings at the first sitting expected in two weeks’ time.

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The MK Party is looking to put Parliament in a legal predicament even before they set foot in the door. 

The Chief Justice has gazetted that the rules that will apply for the election of a Speaker, a deputy Speaker and the president. 

De Vos said that even if MK members were not present, the show would go on. 

"It's not the number of members of the National Assembly but the votes of those present there that will decide the election of the president and once the president is elected, he will form the government." 

Because all 400 seats in the House have been designated by the Electoral Commission, De Vos said that boycotting the session would not invalidate the assembly, nor would it affect the quorum of one third of members required to be present to elect office bearers. 

A breakdown of the seat allocation in the National Assembly by party. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

A breakdown of the seat allocation in the National Assembly by party. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

MK's interpretation has been that a National Assembly should comprise at least 350 members. 

"It's irrelevant if only 342 people arrive - the size remains 400 and the quorum remains the quorum, so it’s not going to have any effect." 

De Vos cautioned though that if the elected MK members stayed away from Parliament for 15 consecutive sessions, they stood to lose their seats.