21/05/2024 12:38 AM

JOHANNESBURG, May 20 (Bernama-Anadolu) – South Africa's highest court on Monday ruled that former President Jacob Zuma would not be eligible to run for Parliament in an election later this month over a past conviction, Anadolu Agency reported.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) filed an appeal at the Constitutional Court challenging Zuma's candidacy after the country's Electoral Court ruled he could still run in the May 29 election, despite being sentenced to 15 months in prison.

South Africa's Constitution does not allow an individual convicted for more than a year in prison to hold public office.

Zuma had been sentenced in July 2021 for contempt of court after he refused to testify before a judicial commission investigating corruption during his nearly decade-long presidency.

Zuma, 81, was released from prison on medical parole after just three months to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

He was later granted a special remission of sentence by his predecessor and now-arch rival, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Electoral Commission said Monday's judgment would not affect the ballot papers for the upcoming elections in any way.

"The photograph of Mr Jacob Zuma will remain in the cluster of identifiers of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party. The name of Mr Jacob Zuma will, however, be removed from the list of candidates nominated by MK Party," the commission said in a statement.

It added that now that the matter was settled by the highest court, the commission would continue with its final preparations for free and fair 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE).

Experts say Zuma's disqualification from the election will bring some relief to his erstwhile African National Congress (ANC) party, which now sees him as a threat in the upcoming polls.

Supporters and officials of Zuma's MK Party have expressed disappointment at the court's decision.


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