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South Africa ConCourt rules against Zuma’s MK Party’s bid to halt Parliament electing a new president

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The Constitutional Court has dealt former president Jacob Zuma’s MK Party a blow after dismissing its urgent application to interdict Friday’s sitting of the National Assembly to elect a new president.

In a judgment delivered late on Wednesday night, South Africa’s apex court ruled that it was neither within its jurisdiction to hear the case nor in the interest of justice to grant direct access to MK Party.

The court said: “It is not in the interests of justice to grant direct access as the impugned decisions or conduct first arose between 1 and 2 June 2024, to the knowledge of the applicant. However, despite this knowledge, the applicant only launched the application on 10 June 2024. The applicant has failed to show any justification for not bringing this application sooner when it was aware of the constitutional requirement to convene the National Assembly no later than 14 days after the declaration of the election results. In the circumstances, the urgency is thus self-created.”

In addition, the Constitutional Court said the MK Party application failed on its merits.

“The applicant has not made out a case for the granting of an interim interdict as it has neither shown that it will suffer irreparable harm if the interdict is not granted, nor that the balance of convenience favours the granting of the interdict. The applicant has also misconstrued the relevant constitutional provisions it seeks to rely on. In addition, the applicant has not adduced facts to establish a prima facie case in respect of the relief it will seek in the main application, in order to sustain an interim interdict pending the main application.”

The Constitutional Court said that the relief sought by MK Party carried adverse consequences to the other parties who had not been properly served.

“Even if the applicant met all the requirements for direct access, absent proper service, the applicant cannot be entitled to the relief sought. Consequently, the application must be dismissed. The application has been refused.”