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Zuma Disqualified From Presidential Candidacy



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It has been officially confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma will not be able to run for the presidency in this year’s general elections due to his criminal record.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) clarified this in response to the Daily News, citing Section 47(e) of the country’s Constitution, which disqualifies anyone who has been convicted and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine from holding public office.

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According to Section 47 of the Constitution, every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of the Assembly, except for those who have been convicted of an offense and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine.

This disqualification remains in effect for five years after the completion of the sentence.

The IEC stated that this provision renders former President Jacob Zuma disqualified from being on the list of any party contesting an election or running as an independent candidate in the upcoming 2024 elections. As Zuma has not yet completed five years out of jail, he will have to wait until the 2029 general elections to try his luck again.

Addressing the Nazareth Baptist Church’s annual pilgrimage over the weekend, Zuma expressed his desire to go back and fix things that had not been fixed during his tenure as the state president. He also requested the congregation to pray for his return.

Zuma was convicted and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for defying a summons to appear before the State Capture Commission in 2021.

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After serving a few months at the Estcourt Correctional Services, he was released on parole and later received a presidential pardon. However, his parole was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court, and he returned to the Correctional Services center for his remission to be processed in August last year.

Despite his legal troubles, Zuma has been actively campaigning for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Party, which he publicly endorsed in December 2021. The party, which turned one month old on Tuesday, is expected to announce Zuma as its presidential candidate at the end of the month.

In an interview, the party’s national spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndlela, stated that the presidential candidate would be announced at the end of the month, while office-bearers would be elected after the general elections in May.

Ndlela did not disclose the party’s election campaign face but confirmed that Zuma was being invited to address all their meet-and-greet gatherings.

When questioned about Zuma’s eligibility as a candidate with a criminal record, Ndlela claimed ignorance and asked for the law that prohibits people with criminal records from being elected as public representatives. However, after being sent the Section 47 requirement, Ndlela did not respond.

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Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe suggested that Zuma did not need to be the president of the country again to implement the objectives of the MK Party. According to Seepe, as long as the party’s deployees implement the conference resolutions that become government policies, Zuma could effectively run the country from outside Parliament.

The MK Party reportedly chose Zuma as their candidate after former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng declined the offer, leaving the party with limited options.

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