Sun. May 19th, 2024

The Electoral Court has released its rationale for permitting former president Jacob Zuma to stand as a candidate in the upcoming elections, notwithstanding his conviction and subsequent sentence by the apex court.

According to the Electoral Court, Zuma remains eligible to contest a seat in parliament because he is unable to challenge the judgment of the Constitutional Court, which imposed a 15-month prison term on him.

Zuma fulfilled his sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

This clarification from the Electoral Court comes following the Constitutional Court’s decision to grant Zuma and the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party an extension to submit their responses regarding the appeal filed by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on the same issue. The IEC challenged the electoral court’s ruling and sought clarity on the interpretation of section 47 of the Constitution.

On Friday, the Electoral Court underscored that Zuma’s eligibility to contest elections persists despite his conviction and sentence, as per the provisions of section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution. The court emphasized that disqualification only takes effect once all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

The court further emphasized that the Constitution explicitly grants convicted individuals the right to appeal, and the conviction and sentence do not become operative until all appeal processes are concluded.

Regarding the sentence imposed on Zuma by the apex court, the Electoral Court opined that it could not be considered a disqualifying sentence as Zuma was unable to appeal it. Thus, the court found fault with the IEC’s decision to remove Zuma from the ballot paper based on his sentence.

Jacob Zuma has been actively campaigning for the MK party in recent months, and the party has been embroiled in legal disputes with both the IEC and the ANC.

The Constitutional Court is scheduled to hear the appeal filed by the IEC regarding Zuma’s inclusion on the MK party’s list.

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