Johannesburg - Tau SA has lodged an objection against President Jacob Zuma as a candidate in the May 7 general elections, the agriculture union said on Tuesday.

It sent a letter to Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula with its objection against Zuma's number one position on the list of African National Congress candidates.

“He 1/8Zuma 3/8 has been recently implicated in a report of the Public Protector regarding possible irregular expenses on his Nkandla homestead, and the fact that he could have misled Parliament on this issue,” Tau SA wrote.

“The full investigation into the so-called weapons scandal (arms inquiry) has not yet been finalised and his name was mentioned in some of the reports on this issue.”

The union said it was of the opinion that an MP had to be free of any suspected involvement in corruption, misappropriation of funds and misleading Parliament.

“For this reason we object to his nomination as a candidate.”

The deadline for objections to National Assembly and provincial legislature candidates nominated by political parties was 5pm on Tuesday.

In terms of the Electoral Act, anyone, including the chief electoral officer, may object to the nomination of a candidate.

An objection can be made on three grounds: If a candidate does not qualify to stand in the election, if the prescribed acceptance of nomination is not signed by the candidate, and if no undertaking signed by the candidate that he/she is bound by the Electoral Code of Conduct is submitted.

The IEC would consider all objections and inform the objector and the party of its decision by 5pm on April 7. It was not clear on Tuesday evening how many objections the IEC had received.

The Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa has also filed an objection against Zuma's nomination. The institute said its objection was lodged ex abundante cautela (from excessive caution) as the ANC was still considering the objection letter and had not yet responded substantively to it.

In an open letter sent to the IEC the institute includes arguments based on the Public Protector's “Secure in Comfort” report on Zuma's Nkandla residence. Also contained in the letter is mention of review proceedings, which the Democratic Alliance has pending against the decision to withdraw 783 charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering against Zuma.

Sapa