MK Party appeals IEC ruling on Zuma’s eligibility to contest elections

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party and its leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party and its leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Published Apr 3, 2024


The uMkhonto weSizwe Party and its leader Jacob Zuma have approached the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein to appeal against last week’s IEC decision which upheld its earlier ruling disqualifying Zuma from appearing on the ballot during the May 29 elections.

Last week, the IEC through its chairperson, Mosotho Moepya, announced that the IEC’s decision to bar Zuma from contesting the elections was taken following the public candidate list inspection process.

Moepya said the IEC had followed the rules of the Constitution in coming to its decision to remove Zuma from the MK Party list.

The apex law of the land stipulates that any person convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine is disqualified from standing for elections, he said.

Zuma was given until end of business on Tuesday to appeal against this decision and the party subsequently lodged an application with the Electoral Court to have this decision set aside.

“Please note that the above-mentioned first and/or second appellant(s) hereby appeal against the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission (the IEC), announced on 28 March 2024, upholding the objections of the second and third respondents submitted on 26/27 March 2024, in terms of section 30 (4) of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998, read with section 20 (2) of the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996, leave having been sought on 2 April 2024,” the legal team representing the appellants wrote in their application.

Last week, Moepya said the commission acted within the ambit of the law to arrive at its decision preventing Zuma from contesting the elections.

In 2021, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court in relation to his non-appearance before the State Capture Commission in June 2021.

“The Commission could only act within the confines of the law and the Constitution. This commission has written to the objectors, candidates and nominating parties to advise them of its determinations. As required, any objector, party or candidate aggrieved by the decision of the commission may appeal against the decisions with the Electoral Court by 2 April 2024,” Moepya said last week.

Zuma was invited to appeal against this decision within seven days. The MK Party has provided varied grounds for its appeal, which include alleged failure by the IEC to provide reasons for its decision and failure to give the party enough time and notice of the objection.

This past week, MK Party’s head of elections, Musa Mkhize, said their lawyers were still finalising their grounds for appeal, adding that in spite of the objections, Zuma would be the MK Party’s leader come June 1, 2024.

"There is nothing that is going to stop president Zuma, as far as we stand in all aspects, but of course, what we need to do is follow what is prescribed by the Electoral Court,“ he said.

The Star

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