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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

IEC upholds objection to Jacob Zuma contesting elections

IEC confirms objection to Jacob Zuma's nomination, citing constitutional disqualifications for candidates with criminal records.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed that an objection to the nomination of former president Jacob Zuma has been received and has been upheld by the commission.

The commission chairperson, Mosotho Moepya, said that the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, which nominated him, has been informed.

Zuma cannot contest elections

“In the case of former president Zuma, yes, we did receive an objection, which has been upheld. The party that nominated him has been informed, and so have the objectors,” Moepya said during a media briefing on Thursday afternoon on the IEC’s decisions on objections to candidate lists for the 2024 national and provincial elections.

The decision is that no candidate with a criminal record can be elected to parliament.

Eligibility criteria for elections

Section 47 and 106 of the Constitution sets out the eligibility criteria and qualifications for the National Assembly (NA) and provincial legislatures respectively.

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They provide that every citizen who is qualified to vote for the national assembly and/or provincial
legislature is eligible to stand for election except:

  • anyone who has been declared to be of unsound mind by a court of the
  • unrehabilitated insolvents;
  • any person who was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine

“This disqualification ends five years after the sentence has been completed. These grounds of disqualification do not extend to those who are yet to be sentenced,” Moepya said.

82 objections to nominated candidates

The IEC confirmed that it has received 82 objections in relation to candidates nominated by 21 parties.

Of the 82 objections, 74 were submitted on time, and eight were submitted after the cutoff time.

“Despite many of the objections not meeting the prescribed format for submission, the Commission, in keeping with its obligation to ensure free and fair elections, considered whether substantively the objections met the criteria in the constitution and the law,” the chairperson said.

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According to the IEC, no objections were received claiming candidates were unrehabilitated insolvents or that one or more candidates on the lists had been declared to be of unsound mind by a court.

A total of 31 objections implicating eight candidates alleged to not qualify due to criminal records or convictions were received.

The commission dismissed objections in relation to seven candidates and sustained one.

Moepya said the commission could only act within the confines of the law and the Constitution.

“The Commission has written to the objectors, candidates, and nominating parties to advise them of its determinations. Any objector, party, or candidate aggrieved by the decision of the Commission may appeal the decision with the Electoral Court by 2 April, 2024.”

Independent candidates

In terms of independent candidates contesting for seats in the NA and provincial legislatures, six will contest for seats in the NA and six will contest the provincial legislature elections.

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Furthermore, the IEC reminded voters that they may only vote at a voting station where they are registered.

“Voters who will unavoidably be away from their voting districts on election day may give notice of their intention to vote at another identified voting station by 17 May 2024,” the chairperson said.

Next Thursday, the commission will convene all contestants for a special ceremony where they will publicly pledge to adhere to the Code of Conduct and to get their members and supporters to act in a manner that is consistent with the Code.

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