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Faith Nyasuguta

South Africa’s third largest political party, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK), has asked the nation’s highest court to halt the seating of the newly elected parliament later this week, alleging fraud in the May 29 election. The National Assembly is set to convene on Friday for lawmakers to be sworn in and to elect a new speaker, deputy speaker, and president.

MK, led by former South African President Jacob Zuma, finished third in the recent elections. The party has filed legal papers with South Africa’s Constitutional Court, seeking to overturn the electoral commission’s decision that declared the polls free and fair.

MK claims there were irregularities in the voting process and is calling for a new election. However, the party has not provided public evidence to support these allegations, and the electoral commission has stated it has addressed the claims.

/New Vision/

Ongama Mtimka, a political analyst and lecturer at Nelson Mandela University, suggests that MK’s actions are an attempt to create drama for negotiation leverage. “It is only in an environment of panic that political accommodation would be considered,” he said.

The May elections ended the African National Congress’ (ANC) 30-year streak of winning outright majorities in parliament. The ANC, which is now seeking coalition partners, received just over 40% of the vote, securing 158 seats in the National Assembly. This marks the first time the ANC has fallen short of an outright majority. 

Zuma, who once led the ANC but fell from power due to persistent corruption scandals, remains popular in his home province, KwaZulu-Natal, and led MK to its unexpectedly strong finish in the recent elections.

Lawson Naidoo, executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, commented on MK’s court application, stating, “My view is that it’s not going to change anything that happens between now and Friday.”

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ANC intends to form a government of national unity, involving a broad coalition of opposition parties. “The purpose of the government of national unity must be, first and foremost, to tackle the pressing issues that South Africans want to be addressed,” Ramaphosa stated following an extensive ANC meeting.

President Cyril Ramaphosa /The Mail & Guardian/

Ramaphosa emphasized key issues such as job creation, inclusive economic growth, the high cost of living, service delivery, crime, and corruption as priorities for the proposed unity government. During a 10-hour meeting with senior ANC members at a Johannesburg conference center, Ramaphosa acknowledged the necessity of forming partnerships to establish a stable government.

While there was speculation that the ANC might consider forming a minority government or a coalition with one or two major parties, Ramaphosa has chosen to invite all rival parties to participate in talks. He stressed that a national dialogue is crucial for rebuilding social cohesion in a society fractured by a particularly toxic and divisive election campaign.

Ramaphosa revealed that ANC negotiators have already begun discussions with five parties: the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, the center-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the National Freedom Party, and the anti-immigrant Patriotic Alliance.

The outcome of these negotiations will shape South Africa’s political landscape and determine how the country addresses its most urgent challenges in the coming years.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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