Sat. May 25th, 2024

A South African court has dismissed allegations of trademark theft by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), allowing a new political party backed by former president Jacob Zuma to use its name and logo in the upcoming general election. This decision marks another chapter in the ongoing legal disputes between the ANC and Zuma’s supporters.

On Monday, the Durban high court ruled in favor of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, rejecting the ANC’s claim that the use of the MK name constituted intellectual property theft. The ruling paves the way for the MK party, which has ties to the ANC’s armed wing during the apartheid era, to participate in the May 29 general election.

The ANC argued that the use of the MK name by the new party, led by Jabulani Khumalo and supported by Zuma, was an infringement on the ANC’s trademark. However, the court’s decision was clear: “The application is dismissed with costs.” This ruling allows the MK party to continue its campaign unimpeded, with Zuma seeking to relaunch his political career and potentially weaken the ANC.

Zuma, forced out of office in 2018 amid corruption allegations, has been campaigning for MK to reestablish his influence in South African politics. His political clout and charisma remain strong, drawing considerable attention from media and supporters. Zuma’s supporters, emboldened by the court’s ruling, are optimistic about their chances in the upcoming election.

MK leader Jabulani Khumalo expressed his satisfaction with the court’s decision, telling South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC, “I’m over the moon that the ANC has been shown that they can’t fight the MK, we are unstoppable.” This sentiment reflects the growing confidence of the MK party and its supporters as they prepare for the most competitive election in South Africa’s recent history.

Recent polling suggests that the ANC may struggle to maintain its majority, with the party potentially scoring below 50 percent for the first time since the end of apartheid. The Social Research Foundation, a South African think tank, predicts that the ANC will secure 36 percent of the vote, while the MK party could become the second-largest opposition party with 13 percent. The main opposition Democratic Alliance is projected to secure 25 percent, setting the stage for a contentious and closely watched election.

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