MK Party confirms it is appealing Zuma’s candidacy objection

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) political party believes it has a solid basis to challenge the disbarment of its leader, former president Jacob Zuma, from the upcoming May polls. 

Party confirms appeal

MK Party’s spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela, confirmed to Sunday World on Tuesday that the party would appeal the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to remove Jacob Zuma from its candidate list.

Tuesday marked the final day for Zuma and the party to appeal the decision.

Ndhlela stated that an email had already been sent to the IEC on Monday, notifying them of the party’s intention to appeal.

IEC consulting with commissioner

“Yes, we will appeal the objection. We sent them an email yesterday but they did not respond to our request to appeal. Until we sent them another email this morning [on Tuesday] to inquire. And they said they will revert after consulting with the commissioner,” he said.

Last week, the IEC upheld an objection against Zuma’s candidacy in the upcoming elections. This effectively bars him from contesting for a seat in Parliament due to his criminal record.

Eligibility criteria and qualification standards for public office

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.

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya announced that 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.

2021 prison sentence

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

The IEC indicated that the decision to bar the former statesman stands firm. This was despite the threats by MK Party youth leader Bonginkosi Khanyile earlier last month. Khanyile had made threats to disrupt the democratic process, should Zuma be denied candidacy. 

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 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 matter and make its decision known,” Moepya said.

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