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MK

Cape Town — The ANC is looking to take legal action against the newly-formed uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, demanding that the party stop its use of the MK name and logo.

It is alleged that lawyers representing the ruling party have sent a letter to the founding member of the MK party, Jabulani Sibongiseni Khumalo, regarding the party’s use of the MK logo and name, something which has been a trademark of the ANC’s military wing for decades, The Citizen reported.

“Our client has used its trademark for decades prior to its registration and assignment, and has therefore acquired a strong reputation in the mark. In addition to our client’s statutory rights in the trademark, our client has acquired strong common law rights in the mark,” the letter stated.

The ANC said the use of the logo and trademark will lead to some South Africans believing there is a connection between the ruling party and the newly launched MK party.

ANC lawyers have written to uMkhonto WeSizwe political party to stop using the name and logo by 29 Dec or face court action.

The MK party was registered with the IEC in September 2023. @TheAgenda_SABC #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/kWn1vFK0Om

— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) December 22, 2023

According to legal expert, Manaileng Maphike,  while the ANC doesn’t have legal rights to the name, it can still prove that it is inextricably linked to it, EWN reported.

“With a trademark, you don’t necessarily always have to register it. If you have shown that you’ve used it and there is goodwill that… and someone else wants to benefit off that goodwill, it’s a concept that we call passing off in trademark law.”

She added that, even though the ANC filed for a trademark application for verbal use of MK, it does not mean it is registered under the party.

Legal analyst, Mpumelelo Zikalala, also weighed in on the situation and said the ANC has every right to go to court. He said that an ideniity is one way for a political party to show who they are and that the ANC can take action.

“In this instance, the ANC has every right to say to the newly-formed party ‘we have the name and uMkhonto we Sizwe logo, similar to ours. There is a rich history as to what the name uMkhonto we Sizwe means. If you look at our documents, for example, you will see those particular names there’, and any other individual who is going to pass over that logo, not concentrating on the finer details of it, may be confused to think it is the original logo of MK, and not that of the new party, and on that basis, they have every right to go to court to protect their intellectual property,” Zikalala said.

ANC legal representatives have written to the founder of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party demanding that it cease to use the MK name and logo, or legal action will be instituted. Legal analyst Mpumelelo Zikalala says the ANC has every right to go to court.https://t.co/NNNW2DdIGF pic.twitter.com/LircVJ8JG1

— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) December 23, 2023

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Picture: X/@Thando_Nkomond

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Compiled by Matthew Petersen

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