SA Constitutional Court Bans Country’s Former President Zuma From Standing for Election

South Africa is gearing up for its national and provincial elections, which are scheduled for May 29. On this day, citizens across the country will have the chance to vote. Meanwhile, South Africans living abroad have already begun casting their ballots, with overseas voting starting on last Friday.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the country’s former president Jacob Zuma cannot be allowed to stand as a candidate for the general parliamentary election.

“It is declared that Mr. Zuma was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment, […] and is accordingly not eligible to be a member of, and not qualified to stand for election to the National Assembly,” court spokeswoman Leona Theron stated, emphasizing that the Constitutional Court’s ruling was final and could not be appealed.

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison due to contempt of the court, and according to the South African Constitution, a person sentenced to 12 months or more is barred from election for five years.

While the Electoral Court considered that Zuma, being in the pardoned group, had spent less than 12 months in prison in light of his health condition, the court clarified that he still holds a criminal record despite the pardon. In addition to his legislative ineligibility, he faces trial next year for his alleged involvement in the corrupt procurement of weapons for the country in 1999.

Zuma has topped the electoral list for the parliamentary elections for the opposition Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, which was founded in late 2023, with Zuma as its leader. In expressing his support for MK, he declared he would not vote for the ruling African National Congress party, of which he was the leader until February 2018. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had earlier announced that the country’s general and regional elections would be held on May 29, 2024.

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