Masoka Dube

By Masoka Dube

Journalist


On the ballot: Zuma’s face is the drawcard for MK

Political analysts reassure Zuma and MK party after court ruling, stating Zuma's image on ballot matters more.


Former president Jacob Zuma and the uMkhonto weSizwe party (MK) should not worry about yesterday’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling, which prohibited him from being a parliamentary candidate in the national elections, according to political analysts.

The analysts and a senior politician spoke to The Citizen after the judgment was delivered.

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ALSO READ: ‘Relax’ – MK party says Zuma ‘still the leader’ after ConCourt outcome

“The Constitutional Court ruling will not affect the MK party in the upcoming elections because the image of Jacob Zuma will still appear on the ballot paper,” said independent political analyst Goodenough Mashego.

“Remember, people are supporting the party simply because they love Zuma. Whether he goes to parliament or not, it does not matter.”

Better to not be an MP

Mashego said if the court had ruled in favour of Zuma, it would have a negative impact, as in becoming an ordinary MP, the former president would be forced to relinquish the perks he enjoys as a former head of state.

According to the ruling, Zuma will not be allowed a seat in parliament should MK win any in the elections because of a 15-month sentence he was handed in 2021 for contempt of court.

In handing down the ruling, Justice Leona Theron said Zuma had been convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment which disqualified him to stand for election.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) disqualified Zuma as a candidate because of the same issue, but the Electoral Court overturned that decision and the IEC approached the ConCourt with an urgent appeal bid.

Zuma was one of the names MK included on its list of candidates for next week’s national elections. His face will still appear on the ballot paper, which commentators believe will benefit the party.

Political analyst Sipho Seepe said Zuma had no intention of going to parliament.

“It is clear from Msholozi’s [Zuma’s] statements that he had no intention of going to parliament. Zuma will continue to play the role of being a unifier and mobilising agent for the party.

“The sooner the MK party explains this the better. In addition, no party should be solely dependent on one person.”

ALSO READ: Zuma barred from standing for election to Parliament, ConCourt rules

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said it was Zuma who had won the battle.

“I doubt Zuma intended to dish out his current presidential package privileges, such as salary etc.

“But he was clever enough to popularise the MK party. He will still be the face of MK on the ballot paper. So Zuma has won this battle.

“We must remember this is a big split of the ANC. MK has a national footprint. That’s a fact. MK is contributing to the political landscape of South Africa.”

Ramaphosa notes decision

In an interview on Radio 702’s Clement Manyathela Show yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said he had noted the court decision and urged Zuma to respect the ruling.

MK called the court ruling “unsurprising” but “disappointing”. The party said the judgment had “not disheartened us”.

“Instead, it has reinforced our conviction that the current system, where just 10 unelected individuals can make lifetime decisions for 62 million people, is fundamentally flawed.”

It said a rally last weekend in Soweto showed clearly that “South Africans from all walks of life love the MK party and president Zuma, and that a two-thirds majority is a reality.”

The MK leadership will make a statement in the next few days after consulting a legal team on the best course of action.