Apex Court’s Zuma ruling hailed

todayMay 21, 2024 31

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The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s decision, banning Jacob Zuma from contesting the upcoming national elections as a consequence of the former president’s bad behaviour.

The ConCourt ruled that Zuma was not eligible to stand as a candidate for the National Assembly due to his contempt of court conviction in 2021.

Handing down the unanimous judgment in Braamfontein, Justice Leona Theron detailed how Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution had been applied to Zuma’s matter, despite him having received a presidential pardon.

According to that section, anyone who was sentenced to more than a year in jail without an option of a fine can’t contest for elections until five years have lapsed.

Zuma was convicted for 15 months without the option of fine or appeal, back in 2021 for refusing to testify at the Zondo Commission.

At the time, the commission was investigating corruption which allegedly occurred during his presidency.

Executive Director at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton, says had Zuma been allowed to stand for office, it’s not clear whether he would have upheld the values set out by the Constitution.

He’s hailed the ConCourt judgment, as affirmation that Zuma’s contempt of court was a serious offence.

Corruption Watch has described the judgment as excellent.

The organisation’s Head of Legal and Investigations, Nicki Van ‘Riet, says it shows the strength of the country’s judiciary and the crucial role of civil society.

The organisation had joined the IEC’s bid to have the Electoral Court’s decision to overturn the electoral body’s decision to uphold an objection to the former president’s candidacy.

The IEC is also happy with the court’s ruling and says it has received the clarity it needed.

The Electoral Commission says while Zuma’s photo will remain in the cluster of identifiers of the MK Party, his name will be removed from the list of candidates nominated.

It believes the ruling has also eliminated apprehension that the elections are susceptible to challenge.

The electoral body says it will now turn its focus to finalising preparations for next week’s provincial and national elections.

Meanwhile, MK party leader Sihle Ngubane say despite the contentious decision, Zuma is still the organisation’s leader.

Ngubane has also alleyed fears of potential unrest on election day in response to the former president’s ban. Written by Naomi Kobbie


Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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