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SA’s top court bars Zuma from returning to Parliament

todayMay 20, 2024 28

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Former president, Jacob Zuma, has been disqualified from running in next week’s elections due to his 2021 contempt of court conviction.

 The Constitutional Court overturned the Electoral Court ruling, which set aside the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s decision to ban Zuma from contesting.

 Justice Leona Theron found that Zuma is not eligible to be a member of or stand to be elected as a member of the National Assembly.

 The IEC approached the highest court of the land seeking clarity on the interpretation of Section 47 (1)(e), which prohibits anyone who was sentenced to more than 12 months in jail without an option of a fine from contesting elections until five years of the sentence lapses.

 Zuma was sentenced to 15 months behind bars for contempt of court after he refused to return to the State Capture Commission in 2021 to testify.

 The former statesman was granted a presidential pardon last year, but this did not hold weight in today’s ruling.

 Justice Theron has, however, granted Zuma leave to appeal the decision, directly to the Apex Court.

 

While MK Party leaders say they will wait on Zuma’s directive regarding the judgment, they’ve assured citizens of a non-violent election.

This as some of its members previously made threatening statements, suggesting that there would be unrest if Zuma is not allowed to contest the polls.

 The 2021 July unrest, which knocked the country’s economy and claimed the lives of more than 350 people in Gauteng and KZN, has left many citizens unsettled.

 Law enforcement authorities have, however, assured citizens that no lawlessness will be tolerated.

MK party Secretary General, Sihle Ngubane, maintains that Zuma remains the party’s leader and his face will appear on next week’s ballot.

 The IEC says it can now continue with the final preparations for the polls.

It says the court clarified the role of the Commission in qualifying candidates nominated to stand for election to the National Assembly.

 The electoral body has reiterated that today’s judgment will not affect the ballot papers, which have already been printed.

 The commission has also clarified that Zuma will be removed from the list of candidates nominated by the MK Party.

 

 

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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