Parliament to open on Friday without MK

By Zukile Majova

The first sitting of Parliament will go ahead on Friday June 14 without the MK party’s 58 members after the party confirmed it would stay away.

The party led by former president Jacob Zuma is challenging the validity of the 29 May election results that were announced by the IEC.

“The MK party is protesting the scheduling of the first sitting of the National Assembly, claiming it would not be constitutional,” read a statement issued by Parliament on Monday.

“Parliament does not agree with the MK party’s interpretation of Section 46 of the Constitution. Parliament is of the view that it is legally bound to facilitate the first sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces at a date and time determined by the Chief Justice, and there are no legal impediments preventing this process.” 

It said unless a court sets aside the election results, Parliament has no choice but to go ahead with the sitting.

By law, the first sitting of Parliament must be arranged within 14 days of the announcement of the results.

Advocate Adhikarie, the Chief Legal Adviser to Parliament, has written to the MK party informing it that travel arrangements for its MPs will be cancelled to save taxpayers’ money.

“In light of the MK party’s expressed decision, through their legal representatives, not to attend the first sitting, Parliament has cancelled all arrangements for accommodation and flights for the party’s elected members. This measure is to avoid incurring fruitless and wasteful expenditure, in compliance with the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2009.”

MK party MPs misread the law to mean that the sitting requires 350 of the 400 MPs to be in attendance to form a quorum.

Last week, Secretary to Parliament Xolile George said just one third of MPs were required in order to form a quorum.

George said the first sitting of Parliament will be at the ICC in Cape Town because the Cape Town City Hall, which has been Parliament’s temporary home, is not big enough to accommodate 400 members and guests.

Pictured above: Secretary to Parliament Xolile George receives the list of 400 MPs from Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Source: @ParliamentofSA

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