Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s Electoral Commission Seeks Clarity on Jacob Zuma’s Eligibility for May Election – Urgent Appeal to Constitutional Court

South Africa’s electoral commission has appealed to the Constitutional Court to determine if former-president Jacob Zuma can stand in a general election in May.

The commission lodged an “urgent and direct” appeal to provide certainty over Zuma’s eligibility, overturning a decision by the commission to bar him over a contempt of court conviction.

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail in June 2021 after refusing to testify to a panel investigating financial corruption and cronyism during his presidency. His lawyers argued that the sentence did not disqualify him as it followed civil proceedings and had been shortened by a remission.

Zuma was freed on medical parole just two months into his jail term. The commission stated there was “substantial public interest in providing certainty on the proper interpretation” of the constitutional article relating to candidacies of people who have been convicted.

The appeal was not intended to involve itself in the political field of play but to ensure free and fair elections by ensuring that applicable constitutional provisions relating to elections are clearly understood by all role-players and applied evenly.

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