Jacob Zuma Wins Appeal to Run as uMkhonto weSizwe Party Candidate

What You Need to Know:

The Electoral Court of South Africa has today announced their ruling that uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party candidate and former President Jacob Zuma, is able to run as an MK parliamentary candidate. Despite the Court not yet releasing their judgment due to the urgent nature of the ruling, the announcement comes as somewhat of a shock to various legal experts in the country. 

In late March, the Electoral Court ruled against the African National Congress (ANC) in favor of MK party over ANC claims that MK could not appear on the voting ballot due to it submitting a supplemented registration application to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

As previously reported, MK’s advocate Dali Mpofu, argued that, “the ANC attempted to bar MK from appearing on the ballot due to it being led by Jacob Zuma, a former ANC member and President of the nation from 2009-2018. Furthermore, the ANC claimed the MK party ‘stole’ its logo and name from the ANC’s armed wing of the same name. The paramilitary wing, which conducted bombing campaigns against government installations, disarmed in 1993, with the ANC claiming only it had rights to the name and logo.”

Following the Court’s initial ruling, the ANC then submitted an objection against three of MK’s parliamentary candidates including Jacob Zuma over a constitutional law which bars candidates who have received a 12-month or longer prison sentence within the last five years, from appearing as a parliamentary candidate. 

The objection claimed that Zuma was ineligible to appear on the candidate list due to his 2021 criminal conviction and subsequent two-month imprisonment at KwaZulu-Natal’s Estcourt Prison.

Zuma was charged with 15 months in prison for his refusal to testify in a judicial commission inquiry into state capture and corruption, which he had previously established, but was released by President Cyril Ramaphosa after serving just two months of his sentence. 

The Details:

As the full judgment is yet to be released by the court, we are unable to assess if there are possible grounds for an appeal of the ruling. However, if there are grounds for appeal it would likely further muddy relations between the parties, with just over a month until the election. 

The ANC, which has ruled the nation since the end of Apartheid in 1994, is projected to receive less than 50% of the vote since gaining power 30 years ago. 

This leaves room for opposition parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), MK, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) to push for a parliamentary majority. However, the EFF, MK and ANC have been at loggerheads since campaigning began earlier this year, with the EFF’s Julius Malema and MK’s Zuma both being former ANC members. 

The ANC’s targeted ‘lawfare’ against MK follows the same vein as the Democratic Alliance’s ‘lawfare’ against the ANC. The use of legal fees, court cases and applications for the release of party documents all serve to disrupt the targeted parties campaign and ‘empty their pockets’ through court fees. 

So, What Now?:

South African legal analysts must now wait until the Electoral Court releases their final judgment in order to observe if the judgment leaves room for an appeal. However, with Zuma’s MK party continuing to gain support in former ANC strongholds such as KwaZulu-Natal, it is unlikely that there is time to push for a second trial before election day on May 29th. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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