Electoral Commission Seeks Constitutional Court Intervention Over Zuma Candidacy

Why is the Electoral Commission Seeking Answers from the Constitutional Court about its own policies?

Electoral Commission Seeks Constitutional Court Intervention Over Zuma Candidacy

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is actively seeking the intervention of the Constitutional Court. This follows an urgent appeal lodged by the Commission in response to a ruling by the Electoral Court, which permits former president Jacob Zuma to run for office, despite his previous 15-month jail term for contempt of court. The initial disqualification was based on this conviction, barring him from standing for public office.

Ruling Sparks Urgent Legal Action

The decision by the Electoral Court, which has yet to detail its reasons, has allowed Zuma’s image and candidacy to be included on the ballot paper under the banner of the Umkhonto WeSizwe Party (MK). Reacting to this unexpected development, IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela confirmed the appeal to the highest court in the land.

“That is correct (that the IEC has approached the Constitutional Court). It is more about the candidate list. Yes, so I can confirm that we have approached the Constitutional Court,” Bapela stated in a conversation with IOL.

Bapela further noted the urgency of the filing and the anticipation for a hearing date, which remains unconfirmed.

“We have approached the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis, so that means as soon as the Constitutional Court is able to give us an urgent date, then the matter should be sitting for a hearing. At this moment we do not have a date, not yet,” she explained.

The appeal underscores the IEC’s desire for a definitive ruling on the eligibility criteria for electoral candidates.

Electoral Court’s Decision and IEC’s Response

Following the favorable ruling for Zuma at the Electoral Court, the IEC expressed its intention to understand the rationale behind the decision, especially considering the significant public and legal interest in the case.

Zuma’s Response to IEC Actions

On the occasion of his 82nd birthday, Jacob Zuma addressed his supporters in Johannesburg, critiquing the IEC’s actions against him as politically motivated.

“It was argued that Zuma cannot be on the ballot, but I have never committed a crime. Another person has stolen money and hidden it under his mattress at home, the IEC says nothing about that person. They say nothing. They go for a person who has never stolen even a needle and that is Jacob Zuma,” Zuma told MK supporters.

Zuma’s candidature and the ongoing legal battles highlight the tensions between legal precedents and political realities in South Africa, as the nation grapples with the definitions of eligibility and the integrity of its electoral processes.

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Written by Siphiwe Dlamini

Name: Siphiwe Dlamini
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation: Journalist and Political Analyst

Siphiwe Dlamini is a dynamic and passionate journalist and political analyst based in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a unique blend of academic expertise and practical experience, Siphiwe has established himself as a trusted voice in the field of journalism, particularly in political reporting and analysis.

Siphiwe holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, where he honed his skills in investigative reporting, news writing, and multimedia storytelling. Additionally, he pursued a degree in Political Science, deepening his understanding of political systems, international relations, and policy analysis. This interdisciplinary educational background equips him with a comprehensive understanding of the socio-political landscape, enabling him to provide insightful commentary on current affairs.

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