Zuma remains on the ballot as MK leader

Concourt bars MK leader from going to Parliament. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

Concourt bars MK leader from going to Parliament. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

Published May 20, 2024


The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma’s face would remain on the ballot as he was the leader of the MK Party.

This comes after the Constitutional Court (Concourt) found that Zuma was not eligible to stand for election to the National Assembly.

The Concourt delivered its ruling on Monday, in favour of the lEC.

In a unanimous judgment, the apex court found that there was no difference between a conviction of a criminal offence and civil conviction for contempt of court.

“This court concludes that Mr. Zuma was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months for the purposes of Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution and is accordingly not eligible to be a member of and does not qualify to stand for election to the National Assembly until five years have elapsed since the completion of his sentence,” the Concourt found.

“The leader of the MK party is Mr. Zuma so his face is on the ballot paper on behalf of the MK Party. There would be no change in that aspect.

“Secondly, the leader of the party and the person being a candidate are two distinct and separate things; being a leader of a party you don’t have to qualify to go to the legislature and you will have your face on the ballot paper. It’s actually going to the legislature you must meet requirements,” the IEC explained.

The IEC had lodged a leave to appeal application against an Electoral Court judgment delivered on April 9.

The Concourt ruling overturned the commission’s decision to bar Zuma from standing for public office as a candidate for the MK Party.

The Electoral Court concluded that Zuma’s 15-month sentence for contempt couldn’t be appealed and, thus, didn’t meet the criteria of a “sentence” under Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, during an interview on Radio 702, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he noted the Concourt’s decision and called for all parties involved to respect the ruling.

Ramaphosa said he was not concerned about the threats of violence.

“President Jacob Zuma should be the one person who should respect the rule of law. We have a rule of law in South Africa that governs us; once a Constitutional Court has decided, that is it,” said the President.

The Star