South African Court Rules in Favor of Zuma's MK Party Ahead of 2024 Election

The ANC in South Africa loses legal battle to prevent the MK Party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, from using the name and logo of the ANC's former armed wing, setting the stage for a highly contested 2024 general election.

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South African Court Rules in Favor of Zuma's MK Party Ahead of 2024 Election

South African Court Rules in Favor of Zuma's MK Party Ahead of 2024 Election

The African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa has lost its legal bid to prevent the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, from using the name and logo of the ANC's former armed wing. The Durban High Court ruled against the ANC's plea on April 22, 2024, allowing the MK Party to continue using the name, which translates to 'Spear of the Nation.'

The dispute centered on the use of a name and logo resembling those of the ANC's now disbanded uMkhonto weSizwe military wing. The ANC had alleged that the use of the MK name and logo by Zuma's party was a breach of trademark law. However, the judge stated that the dispute is more suitable for an electoral court, not the high court.

The court dismissed the ANC's case with costs, representing a significant victory for the MK Party as the country approaches the general election scheduled for May 29, 2024. The ANC has said it will appeal the ruling to the 'highest court.'

Why this matters: The upcoming election is expected to be the most competitive since the first democratic elections in 1994, with the ANC projected to score below 50% for the first time. The MK Party, which enjoys considerable support in Zuma's home province of KwaZulu-Natal, is likely to pose a challenge to the ANC and could become the second-largest opposition party with 13% of the vote, according to recent polls.

This is the second defeat for the ANC in its legal battles with the MK Party. The ANC previously failed in its bid to have the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) deregister the MK Party and also lost a case at the Electoral Court relating to an objection against the IEC's decision to allow Zuma to contest the elections.

Zuma, who was forced out of office in 2018 due to corruption allegations, is campaigning for the MK Party in a bid to relaunch his political career and weaken the ANC. The name and logo of uMkhonto we Sizwe hold immense political significance due to the historical role of the former armed wing in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

MK Party interim leader Jabulani Khumalo expressed happiness over the court's decision, stating, "We have been vindicated. In soccer parlance, it's 3-0. But the biggest victory will be on 29 May." The upcoming elections are expected to be highly contested, with the ANC facing declining support and pressure to remain in power amid the country's economic challenges and high unemployment rates.

Key Takeaways

  • ANC loses legal bid to prevent MK Party from using its name and logo.
  • Court rules dispute is for electoral court, not high court, dismissing ANC's case.
  • MK Party, led by ex-President Zuma, likely to pose challenge to ANC in 2024 elections.
  • ANC previously failed to have MK Party deregistered and lost case against IEC decision.
  • Upcoming 2024 elections expected to be highly contested, with ANC facing declining support.