The case against the beleaguered former president of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), Luthando Mbinda, will be heard on 1 March 2018 at the Western Cape High Court.
According to the party’s spokesperson, Kenneth Mokgatlhe, Mbinda’s fate “will rest on the wits and judgment of Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe,” and will include other parties to the case, such as the Speaker’s Office (Parliament), PAC president Narius Moloto, and the PAC disciplinary committee.
The PAC has been embroiled in a protracted internal political battle that has seen the party’s former president, Mbinda, who was expelled in 2017, continuing to occupy the party’s only seat in parliament. The party is seeking to have Mbinda removed, and his seat taken up by Bennet Joko, who is the Secretary-General of the party. The PAC alleges that the Speaker’s Office is blocking Mbinda’s removal in an attempt to “further weaken the PAC”, and that Mbinda supposedly opened a private bank account in order to continue receiving the party’s constituency allowance from Parliament.
Parliamentary representation, and the subsequent funds a party receives based on the number of seats it has in parliament, is a lifeline for many political parties, especially smaller ones. The PAC currently receives approximately R300 000 per quarter for its one parliamentary seat, and this is not the first time the party has had to seek legal intervention to set aside the appointment of a member of parliament. In 2014, the party set aside the parliamentary appointment of then party president Alton Mphethi, and also froze the funds in a bank account he opened in order to receive the party’s parliamentary allowance.