Zuma disqualification adds to SA elections drama


uMkhonto we Sizwe leader, Jacob Zuma

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE disqualification of former president, Jacob Zuma, from the upcoming elections is a ticking time bomb for South Africa.

It is a bold move by the beleaguered judiciary but it spells doom for a country reeling from the death of over 300 citizens when the same courts jailed him in 2021.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 15 months sentence it previously imposed on Zuma (82) for contempt barred him from standing for parliamentary election.

“Mr Zuma was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment for purposes of section 47(1)(e) and is not eligible to be a member of and not qualified to stand for election to Parliament,” the judgement noted.

The apex court thereby overturned the decision of the electoral court which had found that Zuma’s sentence could not be regarded as a sentence as envisaged in the section.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had sued Zuma’s validity, raising concerns it was reneging on its neutrality and delving into political space and aligning itself with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma has formed the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party and has been expelled by ANC.

Critics accuse Ramaphosa of influencing the judiciary and such concerns escalated on Monday when the Constitutional Court barred Zuma from contesting.

Analyst Sifiso Mkhize, aligned to the MK, believes the judiciary has again been sucked into politics.

He noted this came at a time when the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had laid some 700 charges against Zuma but never proven them.

“Heads will roll,” Mkhize warned.

“Only stupid people, especially the elderly, will vote ANC. The youth outnumber the elderly in this country.”

IEC in April approached the Constitutional Court that Zuma was invalid for Parliament following his conviction in 2021 for contempt of court he snubbed a commission he established to probe corruption under his reign.

The MK party argued the IEC exceeded its powers because only parliament could appeal.

A former freedom fighter and prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela during apartheid, Zuma is a polarizing figure in South Africa’s politics and hailed as a man of the people, unlike Ramaphosa, a wealthy man said to be the richest in the country.

– CAJ News

scroll to top