South Africa court rules ex-president Jacob Zuma can run for parliament

Decision another setback to ruling African National Congress’s efforts to stifle backing for newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe Party

Former South African president Jacob Zuma has won a court bid to overturn his disqualification from running for parliament in next month’s election on the newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe Party’s ticket.

The decision is another setback to the ruling African National Congress’s efforts to stifle support for the so-called MKP, which opinion polls show is gaining popularity ahead of the May 29th election. Last month, the ANC lost a court bid to have the MKP deregistered.

However, in a brief court order released on Tuesday, the court announced that an appeal by Mr Zuma and his party was successful and that the objection against his candidature had been dismissed.

South Africa’s constitution bars anyone sentenced to more than 12 months in jail from being a member of parliament. Mr Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2021 for defying a court order to appear before a judicial commission investigating corruption allegations in government and state-owned companies during his presidential term from 2009 to 2018.


The MKP’s lawyers had argued that the Independent Electoral Commission had failed to consider that Mr Zuma only served a few weeks of his sentence and was released on medical parole before benefiting from a remission of sentence, and should therefore be allowed to run.

Mr Zuma was forced to resign as president in February 2018 after the ANC elected Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed him as party leader in December 2017.

Mr Zuma (81), ruled South Africa for nine years that were marred by scandal, including allegations of large-scale corruption and the looting of billions of dollars of state funds. He has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged over the accusations. – Agencies