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Party lists — Jacob Zuma makes IEC cut while Operation Dudula vies for provincial legislatures

An MK party supporter outside the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Johannesburg on 26 March 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Former President and current Umkhonto Wesizwe party leader Jacob Zuma appears on the IEC list despite not being eligible as a candidate for elections. 

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has published candidate lists for parties contesting the general elections in South Africa. Former president and uMkhonto Wesizwe party leader Jacob Zuma’s name appears on the list, while Operation Dudula — known as a xenophobic vigilante group that has led unlawful raids targeting migrants — does not have any candidates on the national list, although its members are running in a number of provinces.

All parties contesting the general elections in South Africa in May 2024 were required to submit a list of their party candidates to the IEC by Friday, 8 March, 2024.

The public has until 27 March to inspect the lists of candidates nominated for the general elections and raise objections.

Anti-migrant group Operation Dudula last year told Daily Maverick that they would be contesting the elections after registering as a political party. The group has shown little activity since then. It has not nominated any candidates for the National Assembly, but submitted nominees for the Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape legislatures.

In the past, people have raised questions about Zuma’s eligibility to be a candidate, considering his criminal record and the previous two terms as president.

The IEC told Durban newspaper the Daily News unequivocally that Zuma could not stand for election. Eight days later, EWN also published a story confirming that Zuma’s inclusion on a party list for election to Parliament was not possible.

Read more in Daily Maverick: MK party ‘will go to court’ if IEC bars Zuma from contesting elections

Section 47 of the Constitution stipulates that you cannot be elected to Parliament if you have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to 12 months or more in prison. You only become eligible again five years after the end of the sentence.

In 2021, Zuma was convicted of being in contempt of court and handed a 15-month sentence for his refusal to testify before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, which he established.

MK party, IEC list

MK party members outside the high court on 26 March 2024 in Johannesburg after the ANC accused the MK party of unlawfully supplementing a defective application after its initial one was rejected. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

After being released on medical parole, the 81-year-old former president received a remission of sentence last year, for the remainder of the term.

Read more in Daily Maverick: First blood — ANC fails in bid to deregister Zuma’s MK party before Electoral Court

In the past, the IEC has upheld objections to candidates with criminal records and barred them from appearing on party lists.

The reason for including Zuma’s name on the list is unclear, and the IEC did not respond to questions regarding whether they were awaiting objections that they themselves could not disqualify Zuma.

The IEC said in a statement any person may object to the nomination of a candidate and such objections must be lodged with the Commission by 5pm on 27 March 2024.

“An objection may be raised on the basis that an independent candidate or nominating party has failed to submit the signed prescribed acceptance of nomination or that there is no signed prescribed undertaking, that the candidate is bound by the electoral code of conduct,” reads the statement.

“More significantly, an objection may be on the basis that a candidate is not qualified to stand in the election. In this regard, sections 47 and 106 of the Constitution are instructive. The sections provide that every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of the Assembly, except:

  • “Anyone who is appointed by, or is in the service of the state and receives remuneration for that appointment or service;
  • “Permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces or members of a provincial legislature or a Municipal Council;
  • “Unrehabilitated insolvents;
  • “Anyone declared to be of unsound mind by a court of the Republic; or
  • “Anyone who, after this section took effect, is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine, either in the Republic, or outside the Republic if the conduct constituting the offence would have been an offence in the Republic, but no one may be regarded as having been sentenced until an appeal against the conviction or sentence has been determined, or until the time for an appeal has expired. A disqualification under this paragraph ends five years after the sentence has been completed.”

The Commission will decide the objections by 28 March 2024. The objector, registered party or nominated candidate may appeal against the decision of the Commission to the Electoral Court by 2 April 2024.

The final list of candidates contesting the elections will be published by the Commission on 10 April 2024.

Meanwhile, EFF MP Naledi Chirwa has fallen in the pecking order in the EFF list from being in the top 40 to now being the last candidate on the party’s list (200). She is not likely to return to Parliament as the EFF is unlikely to get more than 100 seats. Also, up high on the EFF list is advocate Dali Mpofu and Leigh-Ann Mathys. The pair were not included in the list of the current administration. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • ST ST says:

    Mickey Mouse production of epic proportions. I take that back…Mickey Mouse was actually a well thought out production. This is absolute bedlam!

    1. JZ has had two terms which he did not complete fully due to his own doing
    2. JZ was sentenced to 12 months unserved coz he was apparently ill

    None of these things matter? Although not sure about civil v criminal convict.
    Where is this going? Who is the decision maker here? Is this a strategy to avoid making a decision so as to avoid being targeted by JZ people?

    Haven’t we learnt that letting JZ get away with stuff is going to bite us in the butt. This is not the US. We can’t afford another experiment. Things are dire. We need serious people now

  • John P says:

    As always different rules apply to Jacob. We can only hope that neither the ANC or the EFF would work with him but of course that implies some sort of ethical standard in any of these parties.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Sadly John sanity cannot prevail to everyone but every vote counts, the IEC like every other body was formed under the understanding that leaders of society are people cut from a fabric of intergrity, it is during this phase that critical controls are missed.
      The constitution always look at the rights of every individual, rules that are formulated to guard against things like what is bothering now gets into odds with the constitution.
      Democracy can only work perfectly under correct behaviors.
      Interesting times are confronting us.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Well, if there is ever a debate about a former inmate’s eligibility for being selected for Prez : I will be reading from far far far away.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    Well, it seems to me like the rot of the corrupt has finally found its way to the IEC.

  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    How does one lodge an objection. Deadline is 5pm today. Very short notice as lists only made public two days ago.

  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    How does one lodge an objection. Deadline is 5pm today. Very short notice as lists only made public two days ago.

  • EK SÊ says:

    When you have pals in high places.

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    I am on holiday and not worrying about what day of the week it is. After all, it does not matter, nor does the date.
    Then I read that JZ is on the candidates list and I realised that I was much closer to finishing my holiday than expected, because of this April Fools joke on 1 April.
    When I shared the joke with my wife, she said it was 27 March, not 1 April.
    Now I realise how foolish we have all been to think that South Africa can be saved from being a failed state.

  • ST ST says:

    I’m hoping the people at the top know what they’re doing. Maybe they think if the don’t stop MK/JZ they can avoid violence. Maybe they want them to try and fail to get 2/3rds and then hopefully pipe down

  • Brent McNeil-Spence says:

    For what it’s worth, I have just lodged an objection to his inclusion in the candidacy list. I sent an email to [email protected]. I cited the reasons included in the above article, and also included my name, surname, contact details and work/home address as per requirements.

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    This does seem to imply that possibly the IEC is influenced in some way. Not only did they allow the threats the MK party made, but the fact that they are allowing a convicted criminal on the lists without reason slots in well with all the special treatment Zuma has gotten, including his “health” issues that magically disappeared.
    It really only confirms that we cannot trust any government institution, including the IEC, and the DA is absolutely correct in asking for help.

  • Lucifer's Consiglieri says:

    Posters are probably a little hasty in jumping to the conclusion that the IEC is compromised. What it has done is play it safe by not tackling the issue pro-actively, but rather relying on the objections to resolve the issue. Clearly Zuma is not eligible and in any event would not want to return to partliament as an opposition MP (for one thing, it would adversely affect his pension as a former looter in chief). MK does wish to gain as much political mileage as possible out of the controversy, however. IEC action nitiated of their own accord, rather than as a result of an objection would have played into MK’s hands.

    • Karl Sittlinger says:

      Do you think they would have made these special provisions for any other party list member if it were not Zuma? Lets look at thos in light of tje MKs threats.
      Let’s not forget how the IEC 2021 gave the ANC an extended deadline to submit, for absolutely no valid reason. I expect the IEC to react without fear and favor on the facts they have in front of them. And that is clearly that Zuma is a convicted felon excluding him from these elections.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      It could also be that it is not part of their process to check all candidates for criminal records (I would speculate that it might be a very labour-intensive task, and not as conclusive in the results as we might imagine, either). And thus they rely on objections from other parties/the public to bring such things to light.

      If that is the case, and they pre-emptively disqualified JZ before the objections period was concluded, then they would be guilty of treating one candidate differently from another. Which, in principle, is not something we would like to see an independent body such as the IEC doing.

      I, too, shall reserve judgement until the objections lodged have all been adjudicated.


    Quite unbelievable that Zuma is still a free man and is running for election. It makes a mockery of SA politics. He should have been charged with all his corruption and deals with Gupta. Such a wonderful country and it is going down the pan. Look what happened to Zimbabwe. John

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    The violent zulu bolshevics are clearly preparing another toy throwing party?

  • Lenka Mojau says:

    Well I do not think that JZ will go to parliament but only serves as a political head, and may serve as an elder in political formation outside of parliament. Only a view. My only concern is allowing him to use what belongs to the ANC. Perhaps the ANC did not register Umkhoto we Sizwe (MK), but it is sad that individuals might just run away with what they perceived they worked hard for. Zuma should have used another name, except MK. Okay let it be MK but not MK of the ANC, or rather MK2.

  • the party that will take over must close all borders.and arrest all corrupt leaders

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