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MK takes Zuma IEC ban to Electoral Court

The Umkhonto Wesizwe Party (MK) has filed urgent papers with the Electoral Court to challenge the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to bar its political godfather, former president Jacob Zuma, from returning to parliament.

Zuma tops the parliamentary list of the ANC splinter party.

In its papers, the party disputes that the power to bar Zuma lies with the IEC; instead, it claims, those powers lie with parliament itself.

The IEC announced late last week that there was an objection against Zuma returning to parliament and that the objection had been upheld.

MK states in its papers challenging the IEC’s ruling that “the authority of the IEC is limited to the question of qualification to stand as a candidate in an election in terms of section 30(1)(a) of the Electoral Act, read with section 190(2) of the Constitution.

“In terms of section 57(1) of the Constitution, it is the National Assembly, not the IEC which may determine and control its internal arrangements and make rules and orders concerning its business.

“The doctrine of non-encroachment (also known as separation of powers or deference) prohibits the IEC from interfering in issues of membership eligibility for the National Assembly,” says MK.

The party claims that the IEC should have disclosed its reasons for disqualifying Zuma so that it could launch a proper legal battle.

It also disputes Zuma’s June 2021 Constitutional Court conviction for contempt of court and argues that he cannot be disqualified as he has not been convicted of any offence.

“The matter can be characterised and described as civil contempt proceedings which invoke a criminal sanction or threat,” MK says in its court papers. “Contempt proceedings therefore do not equate to criminal proceedings wherein a conviction of an offence can be made, they simply invoke a criminal sanction or threat such as the sentence of imprisonment imposed on Zuma.

“A declarator such as the one issued by the court cannot amount to a conviction, a previous conviction or a criminal record as intended in the section. Zuma was not an accused, he was not charged with an offence by a criminal court, he was not involved in any criminal trial proceedings, and he was not afforded fair criminal rights in terms of section 35(3) of the Constitution.”

The Electoral Court has not yet set a date to hear the matter.

Pictured above: MK has launched an Electoral Court plea over the IEC’s barring of Zuma.

Source: Sihle Mavuso/Scrolla.Africa