MK Party Seethes Over DA’s ‘Derogatory’ Claims As IEC Raises Concerns About US Invitation

Former President Jacob Zuma at an uMkhonto WeSizwe (MK) party rally.

The MK Party has strongly condemned the DA’s claims that it poses a threat to national security, labelling the official opposition’s call for the US to intervene in South Africa’s upcoming general elections a “treasonous act.”

The newly launched political party led by former President Jacob Zuma threatened legal action against the DA unless it withdrew the “derogatory” allegations against it.

South Africa’s independent elections body, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), also expressed reservations about the DA’s unorthodox approach which it said had cast aspersions on its ability to conduct free and fair elections without any basis.

In a statement released on Tuesday March 12, the MKP criticized the failure of foreign countries and the USA to condemn the DA’s actions, saying it suggested their complicity in the attempts to undermine the country’s sovereignty, electoral laws and constitutional values.

“In paragraph 4 of their letter dated 07 March 2024, [the DA] wrote that the establishment of MK Party and its anticipated or perceived gaining of significant support in the KZN Province may have concomitant implications at the national level, and further that they are of the view that MK poses a substantive risk to the continued peaceful nature of our political discourse as a nation.

“These unfounded, defamatory, and derogatory statements by the DA do not only intend to undermine the MK Party but are also insulting to the MKP and the many of its supporters who believe in the founding principles of the MK Party. Again, the MK Party calls upon the DA to retract and withdraw these statements unconditionally or risk facing legal response from the Umkhonto WeSizwe Party and its members all over the country,” said the MK party in a statement.

Addressing the media on Monday, IEC chief Sy Mamabolo hit back at the DA and highlighted that invitations to monitor elections typically went through multilateral bodies like the African Union (AU) or the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“We are alive to the fact that the letter by the DA is directly to an executive in another country. That’s not how the observation process ordinarily works. Often, the observation works at a multilateral level, such as at the AU level, SADC level, Commonwealth level, and so on and so forth. In the past, invitations have been extended to those multilateral bodies to come and observe the elections,” he said.

IEC chief Sy Mamabolo during a media briefing on Monday 11th march 2024.

The DA’s decision to bypass these established channels and directly approach Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, raised eyebrows in some quarters.

Emma Louise Powell, the DA’s National Assembly spokesperson on international relations, wrote a letter claiming possible irregularities and election rigging if the ruling African National Congress (ANC) were to lose its majority. Powell cited the formation of Zuma’s MK Party by as another factor that could destabilize the political landscape. She further cautioned against the ANC’s potential alliances with alleged “malign international actors.”

The DA’s letter specifically requested increased US involvement in monitoring the elections, including the deployment of additional observers and the allocation of resources to bolster domestic observation efforts.

“It is our contention that as the ruling elite grows more desperate to retain electoral support ahead of the upcoming elections, they may be willing to put their narrow political interests ahead of our country’s broader interests and sacred constitutional values. Here, we are witnessing an increasing willingness by the ANC to forge alliances with malign international actors, whose regimes are characterized by tyranny, terror, and oppression.

“We therefore appeal to your government to recognize the high stakes for South Africa in the lead up to, and aftermath of the [elections]. It is in this context that we now formally request our partners in democracy to engage with consequences in the run-up to the election. In the absence of permissions being granted by our government for increased contingents of international observers to monitor [the elections], resources could be made available to bolster the deployment of additional, independent, domestic observers,” she said.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri condemned the DA’s actions as “reactionary” and an attempt to undermine South African sovereignty.

Bhengu-Motsiri pointed out President Cyril Ramaphosa’s prior warnings about “regime-change agendas” and accused the DA of inviting foreign interference.

“It is thus outrageous that South African political parties are appealing to foreign governments to interfere in our electoral processes, including through funding of so-called ‘voter education’ activities. This plea is a clear attempt to bring about a regime change, disguised in opportunistic language. South Africa’s sovereignty is not up for sale to any country, whether it be from the East or the West. The ANC-led government engages with governments around the world based on the principles of peace and friendship, rooted in the spirit of Ubuntu and a respect for the sovereignty of all nations,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.

The ANC underscored its historical role in fighting for democracy and establishing South Africa’s constitutional democracy. It reiterated its commitment to democratic principles, including free, fair, and regular elections, as outlined in the Constitutional Principles for a Democratic South Africa.



Related Articles

African Times