‘Way paved for Jacob Zuma to resume and complete impactful work he began as head of state’

An elated former president Jacob Zuma following the hearing which ruled that he was eligible to appeal against the IEC decision. l ITUMULENG ENGLISH/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

An elated former president Jacob Zuma following the hearing which ruled that he was eligible to appeal against the IEC decision. l ITUMULENG ENGLISH/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Published Apr 11, 2024


Durban — Visvin Reddy, president of the African Democratic Change (ADeC) party and a member of the MK Party (MKP), said: “The news brings immense joy as it paves the way for Zuma to resume and complete the impactful work he initiated as the head of state of South Africa.”

On Tuesday, the Electoral Court granted the party and Zuma the right to appeal against the IEC’s objection against Zuma’s candidacy as the face of the party.

The court dismissed the decision to uphold the objection to Zuma’s candidacy. This has opened the door for Zuma to freely contest the elections next month.

Last week, the commission said Sections 47 and 106 of the Constitution set out the eligibility criteria and qualifications for the National Assembly (NA) and provincial legislatures, respectively. Thus, Zuma was ineligible to contest due to the 15-month sentence imposed on him for contempt of court.

In 2021, Zuma was handed a 15-month sentence by the Constitutional Court for his refusal to return to the State Capture Commission.

Reddy said: “We cannot overlook the significant accomplishments achieved under Zuma’s leadership. It was Zuma who fearlessly pioneered radical economic transformation, aiming to distribute the wealth of the land more equitably and uplift the life of the black child.

“Additionally, Zuma ensured that fuel prices remained accessible, benefiting all South Africans by keeping it at R11 a litre.”

He said Zuma’s introduction of free tertiary education for poor students opened doors previously closed, offering a chance for a brighter future.

Reddy believed that by eliminating load shedding, Zuma had prioritised uninterrupted power supply for the nation, allowing businesses and individuals to thrive.

Reddy also believed that Zuma played a pivotal role in introducing South Africa to BRICS, expanding the country’s international partnerships and promoting economic growth.

“Unfortunately, his term was abruptly cut short when the ANC, under Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership, removed him as president mid-term.

“This court victory is not just a win for the MK Party, but a triumph for every South African. It represents the hope of a better future, particularly for the black child whose dreams of breaking free from the shackles of poverty were shattered the day Zuma was removed from office,” Reddy said.

Meanwhile, the MK Party says it feels vindicated by the decision of the Electoral Court following its appeal against the objection of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to bar its leader, Jacob Zuma, from contesting the May elections.

“We are extremely happy and vindicated. This is a historic and landmark ruling which asserts the rule of law,” said MKP spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela.

“The time has come that the country returns to its rightful hands. We have seen what the IEC has done and this judgment confirms what we have been saying and we feel vindicated by the judgment,” Ndhlela said.

On Monday, advocate Dali Mpofu SC argued that Zuma was being disadvantaged by the IEC in its objection, saying the IEC had no legal standing to object to Zuma who was given a lesser sentence when his sentence was remitted by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We all know there was no trial, no plea. Zuma was the only person who sat in court without pleading guilty or not. He is the only person in a country of 62 million, who has been charged without pleading guilty,” he had said.

Mpofu also argued that the IEC had no authority to remove Zuma from the list, adding that the decision lay with the National Assembly.

But advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, for the IEC, argued that the commission was applying Section 47 of the Constitution which was clear on the selection of candidates to Parliament, saying the remission did not change the Constitutional Court’s original sentence.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein granted the application for leave to appeal.

“Having heard the counsel for the parties and having read the papers filed of record, the following order is made: ‘The application for leave to appeal is granted. The appeal succeeds. The decision of the Electoral Commission is upheld, Dr Maroba Matsapola’s objection to the second applicant’s candidacy (Mr Zuma) is set aside and substituted with the following: The objection is hereby dismissed and no order is made as to costs’,” the judges found.

Last week, before the appeal, Ndhlela indicated that the party was confident of a favourable outcome.

“We challenge the legality and validity of the IEC’s decision, asserting that it was made without proper jurisdiction; influenced by bias; and based on flawed interpretations of the law.

“We remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice and will spare no effort in defending president Zuma’s rights as the only South African post-1994 to be jailed without a trial,” he said at the time.

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