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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


MK party appeals IEC decision to bar Zuma from contesting elections

The MK party said the IEC "had no valid reasons to violate the political rights of Zuma".


The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party has turned to the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein to appeal the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to bar former president Jacob Zuma as a candidate in the national and provincial elections on 29 May.

Zuma and the MK party had until end of business on Tuesday to appeal last week’s decision by the IEC.

In its court papers, the MK party set out three grounds for their appeal.

MK party’s appeal

The MK party said the decision of the IEC before the announcement made on 28 March 2024 never furnished Zuma’s party with the reasons for the objection against the former president because the election body sent them to the wrong email address.

“No such notifications were received, apparently and mainly due to an error on the part of the IEC and the objectors in inserting the incorrect email address.”

The MK party said the IEC “had no valid reasons to violate the political rights of Zuma and exceeded the limits of its powers jurisdiction and authority”.

“The IEC lacks the power, jurisdiction and or authority to implement section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution which deals with regulating membership of the National Assembly. That power resides with the National Assembly itself,” it said.

ALSO READ: Time running out for Zuma to appeal IEC decision on election dream

IEC accused of bias

The MK party said the commission and not just Judge Dhaya Pillay was legally excluded by bias from deciding the matter because in January it allegedly made an “inappropriate public statement” pronouncing the very issue raised in the objection.

“Although the statement was specifically made by Commissioner Janet Love she was speaking for the whole commission and her statement was endorsed by silence. That means that the IEC had prematurely prejudged the issue and could not have arrived at a different or fair outcome. This was also a case of double jeopardy.

“At best, the IEC Commissioner Love ought properly to have recused herself. At worst, the entire commission was disqualified from taking the decision,” the MK party said.

Pillay, who is also an IEC commissioner, served on the Constitutional Court when Zuma was sentenced for contempt of court.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela told The Citizen the election body will not be commenting for the moment.

IEC upholds objection to Zuma contesting elections

The IEC last week confirmed that an objection to Zuma’s candidacy was received and upheld by the commission.

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya said one of the grounds for disqualification is if any person who was convicted of an offence has been sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine.

The former president was sentenced to a 15-month prison term in 2021 after being found guilty of contempt of court.

‘Zuma going to Parliament’

The MK party said Zuma is going to Parliament after the national and provincial elections, even if it means amending the Constitution.

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said its leader remained the face of the party, whether he was eligible to be on the ballot or not and warned the Constitution could not supersede the “will of the people”.

ALSO READ: Jacob Zuma accident accused granted R500 bail

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