Ex-president Jacob Zuma barred from contesting elections

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has upheld an objection against former president Jacob Zuma’s candidacy in the upcoming elections. This effectively bars him from contesting for a seat in Parliament due to his criminal record.

Objection brought forward by own party

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya announced on Thursday that the objection against Zuma, put forward by the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, had been upheld.

Zuma was among eight candidates objected against, with the decision made in accordance with Section 47 of the Constitution. It prohibits individuals convicted for more than 12 months without the option of a fine from holding public office.

Stems from his 2021 prison sentence

His conviction stemmed from a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court in 2021.

Earlier this month, MK Party youth leader Bonginkosi Khanyile publicly announced that the IEC will be faced with trouble from the newly formed party if Zuma’s candidacy is rejected.

Khanyile threatened that there would be no elections if Zuma is not contesting.

Electoral court not swayed by threats of violence

However, despite the threats, the IEC indicated that the decision to bar the former statesman stands firm.

Notably, the commission stated that the rejection of Zuma’s candidacy does not disqualify the MK Party from participating in the elections. However, it highlights the rigorous objection process overseen by the IEC. The process received objections to candidates nominated by 21 political parties.

“The party is not disqualified. It’s just a candidate in a particular party. All parties and candidates that may be aggrieved about the decisions [may] approach the Electoral Court. They have until 2 April. Once the court has received those, it will consider the matters and make its decision known,” Moepya said.

Party not disqualified from elections

The objection process ensures that candidates meet eligibility criteria and qualification standards for public office. They are governed by the Electoral Act and the Constitution.

These criteria include signing the prescribed acceptance of nomination and adhering to the Code of Conduct. Also not being disqualified due to criminal convictions or other legal disqualifications.

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