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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

IEC: Why did Electoral Court allow Zuma’s parliamentary candidacy?

The IEC previously upheld an objection to Zuma being included on the list because of his conviction and sentence for contempt of court.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said it wants reasons why the Electoral Court upheld former president Jacob Zuma’s appeal after the commission struck him off the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party’s candidates list for parliament.

The IEC said it has taken note and will study the two orders by the Electoral Court which cleared the way for Zuma to contest the May 29 polls for the MK party.

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The electoral court on Tuesday set aside the decision by IEC bar Zuma from running for parliament, in a decisive turn of events that paves the way for the former president to contest a seat in the National Assembly.

The IEC previously upheld an objection to Zuma being included on the list because of his previous conviction and sentence for contempt of court.

It said Zuma was disqualified and could not be a candidate in the national and provincial elections because he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court by the Constitutional Court in 2021 for failure to comply with its order to appear before state capture hearings into high-level corruption during his presidency.

ALSO READ: Electoral Court rules in favour of Zuma and MK party ahead of 29 May polls

Reasons for orders

The IEC said it has received two orders from the Electoral Court.

“We have taken note of the contents of both orders. Furthermore, we have noted that the orders were issued without reasoned judgement. In order to understand the basis of the conclusions reach in both matters, it is important that reasons are provided. We will accordingly request the Electoral Court to hand down reasons for the orders made.

“The first order relates to the candidacy of the erstwhile President Mr Jacob Zuma whilst the second relates to the interpretation of the word consulate to include honorary consulates as provided in section 33(3) of the Electoral Act,” the IEC said

The IEC said they are considering their legal options on the way forward.

“Naturally the Commission is taking legal advice on both matters and will chart a way forward based on such advice as well as reasoned judgements that it may receive, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future.”

Pivotal victory

Meanwhile, the MK party said welcomed the Electoral Courts decision to allow Zuma to be on the ballot.

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the ruling is a “pivotal victory” for the party.

“As Mk Party, we urge the ANC of Ramaphosa and their collaborators to heed this judicial decree and to halt their baseless attacks on President Zuma and the MK Party with immediate effect and fight MK party in the ballot, not through state institutions.

“This verdict sends a strong message to the Ramaphosa-ANC and its allies that any attempts to subvert the law for political advantage will not be tolerated by MK party, its members, supporters and all the people of South Africa,” Ndhlela said.

Zuma told MK party supporters this week that he has “unfinished” business in the country’s seat of government.

ALSO READ: ‘Law breakers should not be lawmakers’: Ngcukaitobi argues that Zuma does not qualify for Parliament