South Africa

ANALYSIS

JZ’s Electoral Court victory makes final weeks before SA’s Elections 2024 alive with possibilities

JZ’s Electoral Court victory makes final weeks before SA’s Elections 2024 alive with possibilities
Former president Jacob Zuma addresses supporters of the uMkhonto Wesizwe party on 7 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie)

The Electoral Court decision allowing former president Jacob Zuma to be a parliamentary candidate for the uMkhonto WeSizwe (MK) party has raised several questions that are difficult to answer. However, the overall significance of the ruling is that MK may now feel it has momentum going into the 29 May general election, which could seriously energise the poll.

The Electoral Court’s ruling overturning the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC’s) decision to uphold an objection against former president Jacob Zuma standing for Parliament came as a surprise to most people who had been following the case.

This was primarily because, as has been pointed out, the Constitution is very clear on this matter: persons who have been sentenced to a term of more than 12 months in prison in the last five years cannot represent a political party in Parliament.

Fact Check — Can Zuma stand for election if he has a criminal record?

As Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison three years ago, it seemed obvious he would not be eligible to stand.

Before the Electoral Court decision, experts including constitutional law Professor Pierre de Vos said he was ineligible

This writer had also assumed this to be the case.

So clear is the constitutional language that IEC Commissioner Janet Love said in January that Zuma’s candidacy would be “impeded” by his sentence.

It is one of the strange nuances of this situation that while MK has used Love’s comment to claim the IEC was biased against Zuma, it was Zuma who appointed Love as an IEC commissioner in the first place.

The matter has been complicated by the fact that while the Electoral Court has made its ruling, it has not yet released its full judgment.

This is not the fault of the judges (in this case, the Electoral Court was made up of three judges and two professors), but rather the election timetable.

Because this timetable has been gazetted, it cannot be changed. As a result, the court heard the case on Monday and had to hand down a ruling on Tuesday.

As the judges told the parties at the end of Monday’s hearing, this meant they would issue an order, and the full judgment would come later (this is not unusual, courts do this in many urgent cases).

However, it does mean many people will now be discussing the ruling without knowing why the court ruled in this way.

(Yes, it is indeed messy.) 

The judges should never have been put in a position where, facing such a tight deadline, they had to make a controversial decision that could lead to a volatile situation. Steps need to be taken to ensure this does not happen again.

Not about MK

We need to reflect on what this decision was and what it was not. 

It was never about MK, or whether Zuma could be “on the ballot”. It was only about whether Zuma could be a candidate for Parliament. The outcome of this case has no bearing on whether MK is registered as a party (it has already won that case against the ANC), and it would never have prevented Zuma’s image from being on MK’s election posters.

In the absence of a full judgment, it is impossible to assess whether there are grounds for an appeal — and it is not clear whether the Constitutional Court could hear an appeal by the IEC against this decision. 

However, if the IEC were to appeal, that would cause further complications. The question of Zuma’s eligibility for Parliament because of a sentence he received would have to be decided by the judges who imposed that sentence. 

He would surely argue that most of the judges on the Constitutional Court are conflicted and should not hear the case.

That alone may force the IEC to decide that an appeal is not worth proceeding with.

But the IEC is not the only party in the matter.

One of the other parties is a person who lodged the objection with the IEC, named in court documents as Dr Maroba Matsapola.

As a party in the case, he would surely have standing to appeal, if he so chose. He may well feel that he has the right to apply to a court to stop a former convict from going to Parliament.

Consequences

It is hard to know how this will play out, because so many of the circumstances are so unprecedented.

But if there is no appeal (the most likely outcome) this could allow MK and Zuma to claim that the Electoral Court’s decision is proof that the IEC is biased against them — and to not accept the IEC’s announcement of the election results. 

There are other consequences too.

Imagine, for a moment, that it turns out there are serious problems with the Electoral Court’s reasoning that an urgent ruling was necessary. It could set a precedent for other candidates, or it could be that the court was split three:two along a particularly contentious issue. 

If there is no appeal now, the decision stands, and Zuma could be in Parliament for the next five years. 

There are other questions, including whether Zuma will in fact return to Parliament. 

Technically, another scenario could play out.

In the days after the elections, new MPs will have to stand up in the National Assembly to be sworn in. When it’s Zuma’s turn, an MP from another party could lodge an objection, based on the Electoral Court’s ruling.

The person presiding over this incredibly difficult moment would be Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who headed the commission that made the decision to take Zuma to the Constitutional Court, which led to his sentencing.

But – and again, this is speculation because there is no judgment – it may turn out that all the Electoral Court has done is to allow Zuma to be a candidate, and that this ruling does not mean Zuma can go to Parliament.

This may seem strange, but it is exactly the kind of fine hair on which a legal argument can turn.

In the meantime, Zuma’s supporters will surely relish the prospect of him returning to Parliament — and in particular, the idea that he could, in parliamentary proceedings, ask questions of President Cyril Ramaphosa (presuming the ANC is able to vote him into office again, with or without coalition partners). 

This might result in a strong MK caucus in Parliament, capable of using parliamentary procedure to great effect.

They could rival the EFF in the use of disruptive tactics, making the National Assembly very difficult for a governing party, or a coalition.

The most immediate effect of the decision is to give MK huge momentum. The energised party will surely use the decision to continue to claim in public that it is the legitimate voice of the people.

MK dominated much of the reporting on the election campaigns over the last few weeks — and now it will be able to do that for some time to come.

The Electoral Court decision is likely to electrify the election.

Because of the decision, MK could do better than previously presumed. This will force other parties to energise their campaigns. In particular, the ANC, the IFP and the EFF will have to try to lose as few voters as possible to MK.

For the DA, there is probably only an upside to this. There is evidence that a Zuma-led ANC helped to increase their share of the vote — the prospect of Zuma once more having political power might well do the same for it again.

Once again, Jacob Zuma has shown that he is almost unsurpassed in understanding our society. There are likely to be more surprises in store. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Wendy Dewberry says:

    Well once again, the law has not failed to surprise. I suppose it’s naive to think that the laws in place have the basic function of regulating social behaviour for some greater good. Messy indeed, when the very same legal system acknowledging Zuma a social deviant now states that he can play a part in managing that society in the future. What? Are we insane ?

    • ST ST says:

      Yep. JZ didn’t win, the court failed

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      The lack of law and order has not failed to surprise. South Africa is a lawless society, and the majority of our population prefer it that way, which is why we have seen the ANC in power for 3 decades, almost a 3rd of a century. Now we have to deal with the sister party of the ANC, the MK as well.

    • J vN says:

      The judiciary has been transformed.

      And we all known what “transformed” means – infested by deployed cadres, captured and destroyed. This bizarre judgement is proof that there are now 2 legal systems: one for ordinary people, and one for politicians.

  • Corry Versluis says:

    The irony of this is that a senior eff member, has by representing and “winning” the case ensured that many who would’ve voted eff will now vote MK

  • Coen Gous says:

    Brilliant article Stephen, although all this uncertainty is enough to grab a bottle at 0600 in the morning. Add this to Steenhuisen’s latest attempt to try and prevent new parties (like Rise Mzansi) from contesting in the elections (calling them popcorn parties), is enough to declare that this year’s election will be the messiest ever. Whatever the outcome, there are going to be very few that will celebrate.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Hi Coen, I so wish you were wrong in your last sentence, but sadly, even though I generally like to be optimistic, such is the nature of SA politics and the ignorance of our majority voters, I strongly suspect you are right.

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      I don’t think it is correct to say he tried to stop them contesting, only to stop them garnishing votes. I always suspected Rise Mzansi as a potential ANC proxy, and they exposed themselves yesterday by pulling out the race card when Steenhuisen was dismissive of them

    • Karl Sittlinger says:

      “Add this to Steenhuisen’s latest attempt to try and prevent new parties (like Rise Mzansi) from contesting in the elections (calling them popcorn parties)”
      Political parties telling voters not to vote for other parties. Shocking stuff indeed! Never happened before. Much better declaring that you will “rule till jesus comes” or that a vote for the DA will cancel all grants, or maybe that you will shut down SA if you don’t get your way.

      Steenhuisen never prevented or attempted to prevent any party from contesting (if so, please provide proof), he merely stated that voting for smaller parties dilutes power. Considering what we have seen in the past, smaller parties flip flopping on coalition commitments at the drop of a hat (or possibly a few extra perks and rands), is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

    • J vN says:

      Rise Mzansi supports expropriation without compensation. Please tell me you knew that?

      • Greeff Kotzé says:

        What is your source on that?

        Their policy documents state that any expropriation of land must be done in line with the provisions contained in the existing constitution (i.e. the process should be non-arbitrary, for a public purpose or in the public interest, applicable equally to all, AND with fair and equitable compensation.)

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    “But — and again, this is speculation because there is no judgment — it may turn out that all the Electoral Court has done is to prevent Zuma from being a candidate, and that it’s ruling does not mean Zuma can go to Parliament.”

    I am sure you meant “NOT TO PREVENT”

    another interesting issue is that Zuma can take up the MP seat, if he is not qualified, without losing is perks as former president.

    I read somewhere that there is an option to take it on a voluntary basis, without accepting remuneration that comes with it.

    Apparently, that’s what Kgalema Motlanthe and Baleka Mbete are said to have done in 2009 when they assumed the positions of deputy president and speaker respectively… Having previously served as President and Deputy President before the 2009 elections.

    That’s why they still retain the perks of a former President(Motlanthe) and former Deputy President(Mbete) even though they were, respectively, Deputy President and Speaker when they exited the public service.

  • Francois Smith says:

    I, for one, counted on the MK would distort the election landscape to such an extent that it will force the ANC out in such a way that it needs to form a GNU. I counted wrongly. A GNU that will force the ANC and the DA together, will probably be the death of both and specifically the DA. Steenhuizen doesn’t have the intellect to choose between himself and the country. Thus, he will probably furnish himself into the position of deputy president, but the public will see him as the DP of Ramaphosa.
    Now, I hope that the DA and co will get to govern the provinces of Guateng, KZN and the WC and that what remains of the ANC splits in two very soon and we have new elections with Mashatile the ANC presidential candidate and the sober part of the ANC that was kicked out of the ANC, will form a new party and that THEY can form a GNU.

  • grtremble says:

    Our country’s constitution and courts are always bent over backwards to accommodate this unworthy man, JZ who has caused so much damage to our country… what’s next

  • rhwtgk says:

    The court case’s outcome could potentially be the optimal solution for South Africa, helping to quell any potential violence. Additionally, the MK party’s perspective might shift with parliamentary representation, as reflected in their upcoming manifesto. However, if they adopt a radical approach akin to the EFF, it could pose challenges for us. Let’s observe how events unfold.

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    I suspect it will be for the best — let Zuma run out of political mileage naturally, rather than prescribing to the voting public where the road should end for him. I, for one, still think he won’t take up his seat, which should be the final nail in the remnant of his popularity. And if he does surprise on that front, then we save a small fortune in presidential pension and protection benefits.

    “ MK dominated much of the reporting on the election campaigns over the last few weeks”

    To an unwarranted extent, one could say. Now, whose fault is that, exactly?

    • Skinyela Skinyela says:

      He can take the seat and keep the presidential perks.

      He would take the seat without its remuneration, like Kgalema and Baleka did.

      • Greeff Kotzé says:

        Hmmm, I haven’t seen this mentioned before anywhere, so it’s an interesting thought. Of course, the next hearing for the Arms Deal trial is set for next week, so whether he would actually have the time to attend Parliament during the next term is another question.

        I suppose the “worst case” scenario that I could foresee then is an essentially-unpaid MP with poor attendance. I mean, can anyone actually see him sitting in a Parliamentary committee, working through minutiae?

        Caveat: if the collective opposition royally screws up this election and MK actually ends up as part of government, then all bets are off — but I think that’s a stretch.

        • Skinyela Skinyela says:

          It seems that Zuma, in his infinity wisdom, thinks that if he can reduce the ANC support below 50% he would offer the MK support in parliament in exchange for total amnesty and all his charges to be dropped.

        • Skinyela Skinyela says:

          It seems that Zuma, in his infinity wisdom, thinks that if he can reduce the ANC support below 50% he would offer the MK support in parliament in exchange for total amnesty.

          and all his charges to be dropped.

  • Just Me says:

    Ex-prisoners can now set law. Criminal.

  • James Baxter says:

    I don’t know what is so important about who we vote for because the economy is the real elephant in the room. Zuma may win a few million votes and challenge DA and ANC in parliament or wherever. But the economy of this country is a major problem and we should deal with this problem effectively before things get worse. People who are on the receiving end of this economic problem like me will not rise up and take over the country. The level of systematic violence inflicted since the dawn of democracy, not by white people, but black leaders on black voters, on the very voters who keep them in power has destroyed any iota of self respect on me for one, and I am not in a position to lead a revolution because of the black on black violence, institutional violence I have suffered. Funny enough, I used to play cricket with white people and I felt safe in the vicinity of white people, and I enjoyed that white space and have grown fond of white people overtime. I don’t hate black people and I definitely don’t hate white people. Even though they were better at cricket than me, all I am saying is that I will not lead a revolution because I am not in a good space emotionally. The democratic dispensation to which I have grown under had destroyed my innocence. I could have led a revolution had I been taken care of but no someone decided to throw me under the bus. But it’s fine, my revolution could have made things worse anyway because some alpha male bafoon would have tried to replace me.

  • Richard Bryant says:

    What you didn’t cover is the impact of zumas likely and long awaited corruption trial, which should finally commence in the next few weeks. The parallels between our zuma and the also soon to start criminal trial of trump are quite unreal

    • Daniel Bower says:

      I have t heard of the corruption trial coming so soon; perhaps this could dim Zuma’s support.

    • TS HIGGO says:

      The long awaited trial is 17 years in the making… I suspect and know it’ll never see the light of day. As things stand if we as citizens were optimistic, it couldn’t start before mid 2025 as the second defendent has miraculously hired Barry Roux who’s not available till then… Well oiled plan working out just fine for Zuma

  • Daniel Swanepoel says:

    Was he not terminally ill a couple of years ago?
    Our legal system is dysfunctional.

    • Alan Jeffrey says:

      He was, along with Schabir Shaik, many years earlier and they are both alive. A miracle!!!

    • Alan Jeffrey says:

      Zuma presided over the worst and quickest destroying of State and Institutions in the history of South Africa. The destruction, blatant and obscene corruption, shameless nepotism, lying, cheating and above all, the most evil and treacherous act that allowed foreigners to steal vast billions that should have gone to the upliftment of our deprived masses, provides overwhelming evidence that would have seen such a person imprisoned for life in virtually every other country in the world other than a handful of oppressive dictatorships. How could ANYONE vote for such a man??

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    As i said yesterday, this is a good result, since it causes problems for the ANC, who will not go into coalition with either of their enemies, the EFF or MK. Then what?

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      The ANC will get into bed with anyone who guarantees they keep their snouts in the trough, with the exception of parties that hold them to account. The EFF and MK are not those parties.

  • James Baxter says:

    Even if Zuma Wins and become president again and tries to institute RET, he will not succeed. He will always remain in a disadvantage. Or maybe he can win and decide to eat or whatever. But the Stellenbosch mafia will always pay the Piper, hopefully if Zuma Wins I hope the Stellenbosch mafia keep him in check, like they did with him the last time. I am the one who will negotiate with the Stellenbosch guyz and we have to talk about the economy, but maybe I will be ready in five years time, I will come alone or I will bring someone, I don’t know Who that someone is as I have not met him or her, but is someone very important or will be very important when I meet him or her, we have to talk me you and the guy or girl I will bring in the meeting. We must or we will talk about the economy, about transforming the country’s economy. By transforming the country’s economy, I don’t mean making Zuma a CEO of a listed company, no. I am talking about transforming the country’s economy in such a way that this economy works for everyone. And by everyone I am referring to myself and the guy or girl I will bring to that meeting. And by working for everyone (me), this economy will have to be very very big, so big that it can build a space program to take to a very distant planet . To be honest, I need to get a very sophisticated space ship, and train extremely super amazing people who will accompany me into that very distant planet. The super amazing people will have to come with me on the trip

    • Tony Fisher says:

      Although the supporters of MK proclaim Zuma as a potential President, the Constitution prevents this, as he has already served out two terms. (The Constitution makes no provision for “fractional terms”, where the President fails to complete his term of office.) At best, he can only qualify as an “ordinary” MP.

  • Lounge Lizard says:

    I am not convinced that the Electoral Court decision is correct. However, very little is being made of the fact that this is a disaster for the ANC of Cyril’s own making. Because he did not have the balls to send Zuma back to jail to serve his sentence, he basically handed him a green card.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F – April 10th 2024 at 08:48
    Where is the constitutional court in all this? Surely as the supreme court in South Africa the case must be escalated to them.

  • Kevin Venter says:

    Another failure when writing the constitution. It should have a clause that prevents anybody with a criminal record (with the exception of the sham criminal records by the Apartheid Government for treason) from being able to run for or be involved in any Government arm.

    A country run by criminals for the criminals will only ever mean suffering for the civilians.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F – April 10th at 07:56
    Where is the Constitutional Court in all this. Surely as the highest court in South Africa the case must be escalated to them or are they barred from becoming involved in political matters?

    • Glyn Fogell says:

      On the surface this is a political matter because it relates to elections, but IMHO this truly is a constitutional matter as our Constitution is very clear on who may not run for election. Zuma was sentenced to a period of imprisonment in excess of 12 months without the option of a fine. There is no provision in S47 for serving a shorter sentence whether through remission or parole.

      The ConCourt has jurisdiction over such matters. Maybe the best solution to avoid disruption of the elections is to wait and then hear the case if an appeal is lodged. If they determine that JZ’s candidacy was flawed then he will have to leave parliament (if he has a seat) and the MK party will have to provide a replacement who is not disqualified.

  • Ray Jones says:

    My thoughts are that the ANC have already made a Pact with Zuma, to form a Coalition Government.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    I have commented. Why has it not been recorded?

  • Alex Blake says:

    And the criminal that he is, that brought this country to its knees avoids jail and then still runs a party. I know let’s make him president again…. The mind boggles at the stupidity of this government.

    • Craig A says:

      Its not too hard to believe; the USA are in the same position. It is possible that a rapist, fraudster, crook, liar, misogynist etc, will become the next president of the USA. Land of the free, home of the idiot.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Well, with Zuma as its public face, we can just like Americans, test a key question : Are we so stupid that we would actually vote for a corrupt, seditious criminal?

    • Senzo Moyakhe says:

      Unfortunately, the bulk of those who will vote for Potatohead do not know the meaning of sedition…

    • Craig A says:

      I think the answer is obvious. Yes they will vote for him. At least in good ole RSA, we have more than 2 choices.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      At least America gets to vote for their criminal or idiot of choice. In SA, idiots have voted for the ANC historically. So depending if they vote for criminals or idiots again, those chosen criminals and idiots will decide who they want as their gang leader. The voter has no say in the matter. Hard to say if that’s a good or bad thing. For example, we could have ended up with Jacob Zumas wife as president. Cyril is a spineless weakling who hides his foreign cash in couches, but I’d still rather have him than Jacobs wife.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    Seems everyone of my friends and family that decided to leave this SH country made the right choice. Well done ZA, you played yourself. Keep criminals in parliament, history has already shown how that works for us.

  • In the land of the blind, the cock-eye is the king!

  • Craig A says:

    If Zuma is now fit and healthy, why can’t he serve the rest of his term in jail? Seems like there are laws and there are laws. Viva, a better life for all.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      While he was working the medical angle at some point, in the end they gave him a different out: his remission of sentence was part of a large batch aimed at “reducing overcrowding” in the prison system.

  • Truth Hurts says:

    Zuma is not stupid! He will never go and stand as an ordinary MP in parliament! If he does, he will loose all his presidential privileges! No more VIP protection! Fly for free, etc. And even if MkP wins a majority, he can’t stand as a president. He has already served his two terms already! Or almost! And Zuma is a Chief Campaigner of this group, and not its president. After the elections, their real president will come out. And I see what happened to the Cope, ShiKota happening with MkP. In essence, they will not survive to contest the next general elections, five years from now! But if it helps to reduce the Anc and the Eff’s momentum, well let them run!

  • John Patson says:

    It is Africa.
    Independent electoral commissions work fine when there is one dominant party. As soon as that party might be in trouble, their rule book gets torn up.
    Read up about Zimbabwe’s elections for a textbook example.
    Senegal is the latest case — elections held three months late after the electoral commission kowtowed to the president who refused to go, and it was only the High Court showing considerable strength which turned the situation around and allowed the election.
    With the poison of Zuma aligned judges still floating around the supposedly learned corridors, I doubt the same will happen here.
    Umshini Wami.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    People vote ANC because they like to vote for the winning party. The technicalities are not important to many ANC voters. IF Ramaphosa gets back in a President this could exacerbate the agro between the ANC and MKP. The EFF will suffer losses. The net result could be a motivation to a more federal government in SA. Tiny parties would not have any pull and the DA would gain. Especially when the DA gets a Black leader.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      “Especially when the DA gets a Black leader.”
      They had one, remember? Then they kicked him out for one poor election performance (which, I note, they didn’t do to the white guy when he also performed poorly in his first election)…

  • Hilary Morris says:

    If the Electoral Court could electrify the election, could we not put them in charge of Eskom?

    • Peter Holmes says:

      If the DM had an “uptick” (like) for comments, I’d give you a handful. Sadly, the DM high-ups (unlike News24) don’t really listen to what their readers want.

  • Cameron murie says:

    What difference would it make, to MK party faithful, that JZ is or is not eligible to stand. If the mob says he stands, he stands. And if / when he wins he will rule them.
    It May not be legal at all, but I doubt that will matter much. . ( His proxy will do his bidding and all will know it)

  • Peter Dexter says:

    It sets an interesting precedent. Section 47 (1) of the Constitution is clear about the integrity standard (despite it being far too low) but it appears that no longer applies. There has never been a competence requirement for entry to parliament (as is evident) but now the limited integrity standard appears to have been removed as well. The country’s problems can all be traced back to poor leadership. We should be raising the competence and integrity standards not removing them. This is a sad day

    • Senzo Moyakhe says:

      Peter, I am also concerned about the precedent this ruling might set. My biggest issue was what I considered to be the ambiguity of Section 84(2)(j) of the Constitution when read in conjunction with Section 47(1)(e) regarding remission of sentences. I have not explored in depth regarding those Sections and their interpretation. It seems to me that Zuma’s counsel played this card in putting forward their argument.

      I’ll probably take some time reading the Electoral Commission Act but I’m no attorney, nor is there someone paying me to do so. It’ll be something I do at leisure just to heighten my knowledge levels…

      But yeah, I am rather concerned about the precedent. Mainly, if this ruling is successfully appealed and Zuma is already a sitting MP, what happens then?

  • John Stephens says:

    Al the speculation around whether the decision may have this or that effect in the lection and its aftermath is irrelevant. Our constitution is built on the idea of the rule of law. Which means that the law must be given effect to, irrespective of any other considerations. The very foundation of our constitution has now been ravaged by this decision. We are now all at sea.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F April 10th 2024 at 09:36
    Commenting is an utter waste of time. l have commented twice on this article this morning and neither has been a accepted or published.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    A plague on all lawyers!

  • Troy Marshall says:

    Trump : serious corruption issues
    Netanyahu : serious corruption issues
    Zuma : serious corruption issues

    I honestly don’t get it.
    The human mind is brilliant?
    Human’s have achieved so many amazing things; man on the moon, cellular technology, the internet, satellite transmission ….
    Yet politicians blatantly corrupt and self serving enjoy popular support?

    I’m gonna drink three Hansa quarts tonight

  • Lucifer's Consiglieri says:

    Expect a judgement that draws a distinction between a committal based on a contempt of court ruling and a sentence for other crimes (the process for contempt of court committals is different, after all).

  • Amanda Simpson says:

    Can someone please educate me as to why a significant portion of the population believes Zuma can do anything but harm our country??? Is it sheer ignorance? Tribalism? Denial? Please help!!

    • mgidi.zanele says:

      Many South Africans are stuck in the past. Too scared to trust different race groups, which is not always surprising. Our political parties do not understand this fear, and don’t speak to this fear. Some ignorance also goes a long way into keeping the status quo. And then you had Zuma who appeals to the most disenfranchised groups and gives them hope that there should not be any requirements from them in order to benefit from South Africa. They don’t understand that this is unsustainable; they just want to ensure a meal for their families. If more politicians understand politics of the stomach and assure people that they will not be forgotten; in a way that these groups can understand- we might start making progress. The mistrust of whites is deep. And there is merit to this mistrust; given our history. Too few blacks have made it to middle class; this few is not big enough to create the necessary wave of change; at a fast pace. Our education system has not helped this country. We still have too much ignorance. This benefits the ANC and EFf and MK. Scary times. The only silver lining is that MK might reduce ANC and EFF voted in kzn. Not that MK would be any less criminal. But We need the chop the AnC beat down little by little.

  • Brian Hutton says:

    For those that have not noticed the home page this morning (iPad – landscape) we have a story called Toxic Spill opposite this analysis. The graphic used to illustrate this piece has an arrow on the right pointing at jz’s head that aligns perfectly with the headline Toxic Spill. What a coincidence.

  • dexter m says:

    Never a dull moment with Zuma and Trump.

  • David Crossley says:

    This is about as ridiculous as it can become and one wonders if the prospect of possible mass violent action had this decision not been arrived at, had some influence on the decision. Whilst it may be felt in the court of public opinion that Zuma is a serial transgressor of the law and during his tenure as President, systematically hollowed out the South African Economy, it nevertheless shows how a personality, however criminalised he is, can manipulate institutions and people for his own personal ends.
    Let’s hope that he does not end up in Parliament……

  • TS HIGGO says:

    Perhaps with Zuma back in parliament the rebuild will include a fire pool which will most certainly assure we will never experience the burning down of our house of democracy again

  • Yousuf Vadachia says:

    “…it may turn out that all the Electoral Court has done is to allow Zuma to be a candidate, and that this ruling does not mean Zuma can go to Parliament.”

    I think this phrase is the key. The constitutional clause prevents somone with a sentence greater than 12 months from taking a seat in parliament but does not prevent them from running in the election. Ultimately the prevention should only kick in if he and his party secure a parliamentary seat in the election.

  • lance49 says:

    South Africans are either gullible or complicit or both. Zuma’s a convicted criminal. Besides, according to the parole board he was on death’s doorstep, nudge nudge wink wink.

  • Philemon Solomon says:

    I am in no way a DA member, but even I notice Grootes’ constant bias against anything DA. Have you wonder where it comes from…
    Secondly, there are certainly those who would love to see this election fail. They must be almost weekly rubbing their hands together with glee…

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      I’ve been reading Grootes’ articles for many years, and the one thing I have never witnessed is any form of bias in his writing, much less a bias against the DA. It generally appears to me more a case that the DA supporters who read DM throw a hissy fit the moment anything bad is said about their party, regardless of whether it is a reported fact in a news article, or part of an opinion from one of DM’s opinionistas – fragile doesn’t even begin to describe most of the DA supporters on this site…

  • Bjorn Vye says:

    Very interesting article. Well done Stephen Grootes.

  • Charl Engelbrecht says:

    Daily Maverick just got too fancy with this webpage. Can’t read the article because there is nowhere to enter the pin. Congratulations all round.

  • Philip Machanick says:

    In practical terms, if Zuma had been disqualified now, the Electoral Act S30(6) allows a party to substitute for a disqualified candidate. If MK by chance should win exactly the number of seats that their PR list contains, they can’t add a new person after the elections.

    One thing IS clear: Zuma can’t be president again. In terms of S88 of the constitution:

    “1. The President’s term of office begins on assuming office and ends upon a vacancy occurring or when the person next elected President assumes office.

    “2. No person may hold office as President for more than two terms, but when a person is elected to fill a vacancy in the office of President, the period between that election and the next election of a President is not regarded as a term.”

    … he has served 2 terms and cannot be president again.

    So what reasoning could the court have applied? They could’ve decided that rapping the IEC over the knuckles for process errors sends a good message; if it’s to MK’s disadvantage having someone who can’t be elected on their list, that’s their problem – they got what they asked for.

    But I am happy to wait to read the actual judgment.

  • Lenka Mojau says:

    I am a staunch ANC supporter but I have doubts about some leaders in the ANC who looks like infiltrators. Yes our leaders our corrupt and without vision, but just opportunist but there is no other colourful party than the ANC. However MK Party if it wants to put Traditional leaders back into the driving seat might get my vote and volunteerism. I am however anti Ace Magashule, if he is roped in he will spoil everything.

  • Michael Evans says:

    Good article Stephen. As you know, I have been a constitutional and administrative lawyer for over 30 years. I agree fully with the views expressed by you and Pierre de Vos. I cannot see any basis for a ruling in favour of Zuma. The arguments put up by Dali Mpofu (who I think has lost more cases than any other advocate in South African history) were frankly and unsurprisingly extremely weak. If the IEC takes the matter to the Con Ct, I’m certain the ruling will be overturned. I just hope that the Electoral Court was not influenced by the possible threat of violence had they ruled against Zuma. One issue which I think was not raised by the IEC is that Zuma’s early release for medical reasons was declared unlawful. He only received remission because the 15 months had run its course once the final ruling was handed down. So the issue of remission should have been irrelevant in the case. Besides that, as you said, the wording in the Constitution is absolutely clear. And there is no doubt that the Electoral Court had jurisdiction. So it’s a very sad and disappointing outcome in favour of Zuma, the criminal.

  • Isn’t this the same very sick ‘medical parole’ Jacob Zuma that would likely die in prison if forced to complete his sentence? Is there not now a clear case of fraudulently misrepresenting the facts to the public? Or is Zuma perhaps the second coming fulfilling his prophecy that the ANC will rule until Jesus returns?

  • Richie Rich says:

    The sky is going to fall on South Africa the day Zuma gets elected back into parliament.
    😡

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    Not to mention his remarkable recovery from being a gibbering jellyfish knocking at deaths door, to a modern day Janus!

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