Home News South Africa’s Supreme Court says Jacob Zuma cannot serve in parliament

South Africa’s Supreme Court says Jacob Zuma cannot serve in parliament

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South Africa’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that former President Jacob Zuma was ineligible to serve in parliament, a decision that could deepen political turmoil in the country a week before crucial national elections.

The Constitutional Court overturned a previous ruling by the Special Electoral Court, ruling that Mr Zuma could not stand as a candidate in the May 29 election because of his past criminal convictions.

Mr Zuma, former leader of the African National Congress resign as president In 2018, amid widespread protests.Three years later he was convicted and sentenced failed to show up in a corruption investigation.

Mr Zuma’s attempted political comeback has put South Africa’s fledgling democracy to a huge test.

However, after his arrest in July 2021, he became the first former president of post-apartheid South Africa to serve time in prison he was released He was released on medical parole only two months after serving 15 months in prison. The Constitutional Court later overturned his medical parole, but Mr Zuma was later granted a presidential pardon by his successor, political rival Mr Ramaphosa.

The court’s decision depends on the length of Mr Zuma’s sentence. The court ruled that while he received a commutation and reduced time served, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison, which made him ineligible to run.

Under South African law, people who have been convicted and sentenced to more than 12 months in prison are not allowed to serve in the National Assembly.

“Mr Zuma was found guilty and sentenced to more than 12 months in prison,” Judge Leona Theron said.

The judge added that Mr Zuma was “eligible and ineligible” to contest the election only five years after his release from prison.

Zuma, 82, had been hoping to run for leadership of UMkhonto weSizwe, an emerging party formed to challenge the African National Congress, which has ruled the country since the end of apartheid three decades ago .

Mr Zuma’s decision to lead and campaign for the opposition has profoundly disrupted South Africa’s political landscape. Founded in December, uMkhonto weSizwe, or MK, quickly became one of the most high-profile opposition groups in an election that saw a record 52 parties vie for votes in the national vote. .

South Africans vote for a party rather than an individual, but MK appears to be relying on the appeal of familiar faces to attract voters: Mr Zuma’s picture is plastered across its campaign posters and T-shirts.

Although Mr Zuma resigned as president in 2018, he remains a popular figure in South African politics, with his populist rhetoric resonating with voters disaffected by the ANC.

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