Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

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

The ConCourt ruling will not affect the MK party's election campaign.

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party has urged its members and supporters to remain calm despite the decision preventing former president Jacob Zuma from running for election to Parliament.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled that Zuma was not eligible to serve in the National Assembly until five years have lapsed due to his 15-month jail sentence for contempt.

The former president had previously been convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine.

This disqualified him to go to Parliament in terms of Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution.

Zuma still MK party leader

Speaking to the media outside the court, MK party secretary-general Sihle Ngubane said the party was disappointed by the outcome, but stressed that Zuma will appear on the ballot when the country votes on 29 May.

Ngubane called for calm and stated that the MK party leadership would meet with Zuma to discuss the way forward.

WATCH: ‘Zuma must respect rule of law’ − Ramaphosa after ConCourt ruling

“When we leave here, we will go and have a meeting as executive and president Zuma will lead us on what to do from here onwards. He is still the leader of the party, he is in charge of MK party.

“The people of South Africa must relax, every direction that Jacob Zuma will give us we will follow him. He leads this party, he commands this party… he will be on the ballot,” he told reporters on Monday.

The MK party official emphasised that the apex court’s ruling doesn’t affect the party’s election campaign.

Watch the video below:

IEC to remove Zuma

The IEC has welcomed the ConCourt’s ruling, saying it will now turn its focus on finalising preparations for the upcoming national and provincial elections.

“Now that the matter has been settled by the highest court and given that the constitutional uncertainties have been clarified, the commission can continue with final preparations for free and fair 2024 national and provincial elections single-mindedly, without apprehension that the elections are susceptible to challenge,” the commission’s statement reads.

READ MORE: Zuma will appear on ballot for MK party regardless of ConCourt outcome – IEC

The commission confirmed that Zuma will be removed from the MK party’s parliamentary list.

“To avoid confusion, the commission reiterates that the judgment will not affect the ballot papers for the 2024 [elections] in any way.

“The photograph of Mr Jacob Zuma will remain in the cluster of identifiers of uMkhonto weSizwe Party. The name of Mr Jacob Zuma will, however, be removed from the list of candidates nominated by the MK party,” the IEC concluded.

ConCourt on Zuma’s sentence

The IEC had approached the ConCourt with a leave to appeal application after the Electoral Court overturned the commission’s decision to Zuma to stand for public office as a candidate for the MK party.

The Electoral Court concluded that Zuma’s 15-month sentence for contempt couldn’t be appealed and, thus, didn’t meet the criteria of a “sentence” under Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution.

But the ConCourt on Monday unanimously disagreed with this assertion.

“The reasoning of the Electoral Court in finding that the sentence that was imposed on Mr Zuma could not be said to be a sentence which the section contemplates cannot be sustained,” said Justice Leona Theron while reading the judgment.

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