Jacob Zuma’s Bid for Elections Rejected by IEC on Legal Grounds

March 28, 2024
Zuma will be barred from contesting for a seat in Parliament because of his criminal record | Report Focus News
Zuma will be barred from contesting for a seat in Parliament because of his criminal record

Just in | The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has upheld an objection against former president Jacob Zuma’s candidacy in the upcoming elections, citing his criminal record as the reason for barring him from contesting for a seat in Parliament.

According to Mosotho Moepya, the chairperson of the IEC, Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party was duly informed of this decision, among eight candidates who faced objections. Moepya clarified during a media briefing on Thursday that the decision regarding Zuma was based on legal provisions rather than personal animosity. He cited Section 47 of the Constitution, which prohibits individuals convicted for more than 12 months, without the option of a fine, from holding public office. Zuma’s 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court in 2021 rendered him ineligible under this provision.

Despite previous threats of violence from the MK Party if Zuma were barred from contesting, Moepya emphasized that the decision was made in accordance with the law and not influenced by personal factors. Zuma, who endorsed the MK Party in December and was slated as its presidential candidate, has been actively campaigning against the African National Congress (ANC), the party he led for a decade.

However, the rejection of Zuma’s candidacy does not equate to the disqualification of the MK Party from participating in the elections. Moepya clarified that the party itself remains eligible, and any grievances regarding the commission’s decisions can be addressed through the Electoral Court. Parties and candidates have until April 2 to lodge their appeals, with the Electoral Court expected to reach a decision by April 9.

Moepya reiterated the commission’s commitment to upholding the law without bias or prejudice, stating that decisions to remove candidates are based on clear legal criteria outlined in the Constitution and relevant legislation. With Zuma’s case resolved, the IEC will now focus on finalizing the list of nominated candidates, ensuring that only those who meet the eligibility criteria remain on the ballot.

Janet Love, representing the IEC, expressed concerns about maintaining collective responsibility and adherence to the electoral code of conduct among all political stakeholders. She emphasized the importance of recognizing the elections as a shared responsibility and urged political organizations to uphold the principles of fairness and accountability in their participation.