‘Who is giving the IEC these instructions?’ MK Party slams Zuma candidacy appeal bid

Former president Jacob Zuma in MK party regalia. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Former president Jacob Zuma in MK party regalia. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Published Apr 12, 2024


The Umkhonto WeSizwe Party (MKP) has expressed disappointment on Friday after it emerged that the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has approached the Constitutional Court to appeal the Electoral Court ruling, which found former president Jacob Zuma could run for elections despite a 15-month prison sentence.

The IEC had disqualified him from standing for public office, based on his July 2021 prison sentence for contempt of court.

The Electoral Court ruled this week, but has not yet provided reasons, that Zuma could run for elections and have his face on the ballot paper as a candidate for the Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK) party.

Speaking to IOL on Friday morning, MKP spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the IEC is going out of its way, in a bid to exclude Zuma from the ballot.

Umkhonto weSizwe party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela speaking at The Star's Political Dialogue held at the Joburg Theatre ahead of the elections on May 29. File Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspaper.

“The IEC is now entering political space and is now becoming a player and an arbiter. They are now politicizing this matter. The IEC’s responsibility is to uphold electoral relations, not to drive an agenda around objections that focus on disqualifying a candidate,” said Ndhlela in an interview.

“They (the IEC) have got nothing to lose by not participating or objecting in this matter. Why are they so desperate to get president Zuma off the candidate list? Who is giving them these instructions?”

Earlier on Friday, IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela told IOL News that the electoral body is seeking clarity from the apex court, on an urgent basis.

She said the IEC has filed its papers on an urgent basis, but she said there was no clarity yet on the date for a sitting.

IEC national spokesperson Kate Bapela. File Picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

“We have approached the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis, so that means as soon as the Constitutional Court is able to give us an urgent date, then the matter should be sitting for a hearing. At this moment we do not have a date, not yet,” said Bapela.

She emphasised the IEC wants the highest court in the land to make a ruling on “the criteria which candidates must meet” to be on the ballot.

The IEC had decided to uphold an objection that was made against the former president’s candidacy. Zuma appealed the decision and won at the Electoral Court.

In a statement on Tuesday, shortly after the Electoral Court’s decision, the commission said it wanted to be furnished with the reasons behind the judgment.

On Thursday, Zuma, who is celebrated his 82nd birthday on Friday, told a crowd of supported in Joburg that the IEC was out to get him.

MK party supporters outside the High Court in Johannesburg. File Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Zuma is number one on the list of candidates for the MK party to Parliament.