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ConCourt overturns Electoral Court decision, Jacob Zuma not eligible to run in elections

Written by on May 20, 2024

The South African Constitutional Court on Monday overturned the Electoral Court decision, and ruled that former president Jacob Zuma was not eligible to run for this year’s elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) lodged an urgent application to challenge Zuma’s inclusion in the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party’s parliamentary list.

The commission had released a list of candidates of parties, and in line with the law, asked for objections.

It received an objection against Zuma, following his 15-month sentence at the Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal in 2021 for defying the Constitutional Court.

The IEC argued that according to section 47(1)(e) of the constitution, Zuma was automatically removed from participating in the  public office.

Section 47 states: “Anyone who, after this section took effect, is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine, either in the Republic, or outside the Republic if the conduct constituting the offence would have been an offence in the Republic, but no one may be regarded as having been sentenced until an appeal against the conviction or sentence has been determined, or until the time for an appeal has expired”.

However, Zuma’s legal counsel argued that because he only served three months of his 15-month sentence, he was fit to serve in the National Assembly.

Zuma was released on medical parole on 5 September 2021, by the national commissioner of Correctional Services after serving only three months of his 15-month sentence imposed by the ConCourt for refusing to testify in the Zondo Commission into State Capture.

He was then granted a special remission of sentence by president Cyril Ramaphosa and justice minister Ronald Lamola due to prison overcrowding.

The remission also applied to over 9 000 other prisoners.

However, Zuma’s lawyers argued that the remission of his sentence by Ramaphosa effectively reduced it to three months, and for that reason, he is not disqualified from National Assembly membership.

Zuma is now the leader and face of the MK party after replacing the founder and owner, Jabulani Khumalo. – IOL Politics

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