Jacob Zuma is not eligible to become an MP: Constitutional Court

The apex court has ruled on the eligibility of MK Party leader Jacob Zuma to become an MP. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Former president Jacob Zuma’s bid to make a return to parliament was scuppered on Monday when the Constitutional Court ruled he is ineligible to stand for election and upheld the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) urgent appeal.

Justice Leona Theron‚ handing down judgment‚ said: “This court concludes Mr Zuma was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment for the purpose of section 47 (1) (e) of the Constitution and is accordingly not eligible to be a member of and not qualified to stand for election into the National Assembly until five years have lapsed since the completion of his sentence.”

The apex court earlier this month heard arguments in the IEC’s urgent application for leave to appeal against the judgment of the Electoral Court that cleared the way for Zuma to stand for election to the National Assembly as an MP.

When the MK Party (MKP) added Zuma to its parliamentary list‚ the commission upheld an objection to his inclusion as a potential legislator on the basis of of the Constitution.

Section 47(1)(e) disqualifies people from being MPs if they have been “convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine”. The section also contains a proviso which says “no-one may be regarded as having been sentenced until an appeal against the conviction or sentence has been determined”.

This is a developing story