MK Party requests extension in Constitutional Court appeal matter

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party has submitted a request to the Constitutional Court for an extension in the ongoing appeal matter brought forth by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

This move comes in the wake of the Electoral Court’s ruling allowing former President Jacob Zuma to stand in the upcoming May polls despite his criminal conviction.

In response to the IEC’s appeal seeking clarity on the matter, the Constitutional Court gave Zuma and the MK Party until Thursday to file answering affidavits.

MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela confirmed the request for an extension. He emphasised the necessity for additional time. The initial 48-hour deadline was “unreasonable”, he said.

Logistical difficulties

In a letter that Sunday World was able to view, the party’s legal counsel made their case for an extension. It cited logistical difficulties and the impending election campaign as reasons why more time was necessary.

“The time afforded to the respondents is, with the greatest respect, unreasonably short in the circumstances,” stated the letter from the MK Party’s legal team.

“Our offices have only been able to make contact with our clients and counsel until this morning [Thursday]. The legal representatives were unfortunately engaged in other matters. And with the elections around the corner, the clients were spread out across the country campaigning for votes.”

Furthermore, the letter highlighted the complexity of the case and the absence of reasons from the Electoral Court. It indicated that the matter is not yet ripe for a hearing or proper adjudication. The party expressed its inability to furnish meaningful answering affidavits within the given timeframe without the Electoral Court’s reasons.

“In the present circumstances, it is practically impossible to comply with the directive to furnish any meaningful answering affidavit(s) in the next 24 hours or so,” the letter continued.

“We are therefore instructed to make this humble request, as we hereby do, to be granted an extension. Until …the close of business on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.”

Party denies Zuma’s health issues

Meanwhile, it was reported earlier this week that Zuma had collapsed due to ill health. However, the MK Party has dismissed the claims. It stated that they are calculated attempts to disrupt the party’s progress.

The party affirmed Zuma’s health and leadership while urging unity and resolve against distractions ahead of the elections.

“These stories… are propagated by apartheid-trained journalists and forces opposed to the consolidation of black power. They are intended to create fear and uncertainty within our ranks.

“Those behind these narratives are afraid of the strength and determination of the MK Party. [It] stands as a beacon of hope for South Africans who seek a new era of empowerment and representation. The falsehoods about President Zuma’s health are desperate attempts to disrupt our progress and weaken our resolve,” Ndhlela said.

“Despite these malicious efforts, the truth is clear: President Zuma is healthy, strong, and in great spirits. His leadership and commitment to the MK Party are as steadfast as ever. They are demonstrated by his ongoing involvement in party activities and his upcoming unveiling of the National Gig Rig in Nkandla.

“These deceitful rumours serve only as distractions. They aim to divert our focus from the critical work of mobilising our people for a two-thirds majority in the upcoming elections.”

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