South Africa: Constitutional Court Bars Jacob Zuma from Running in Elections

Jacob Zuma.
20 May 2024

The Constitutional Court has delivered a major blow to former president Jacob Zuma's political ambitions, ruling on Monday that he cannot stand as a candidate in next week's national elections in South Africa, reports  Eyewitness News.

The apex court's judgement upholds the decision by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to disqualify Zuma's candidacy on the grounds of his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court in 2021. Zuma was controversially included on the candidate list for the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, a small opposition group.

The IEC had initially barred Zuma from running, citing the Constitutional provision that prohibits anyone sentenced to more than 12 months in prison from being a member of parliament. However, the Electoral Court overturned this decision last month, leading the IEC to urgently appeal to the Constitutional Court for clarity.

The 80-year-old former president had argued that a remission meant his effective sentence was only 3 months, but the judges dismissed this claim.

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the ruling, saying that Zuma "should be the one person who should respect the rule of law." Ramaphosa expressed confidence that the decision would not instigate any violence.

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