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Former South African president Jacob Zuma disqualified from general elections

Zuma, a former South African president, has been actively campaigning against the ANC he once staunchly supported since childhood and led for nearly a decade.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 Johannesburg Published on: March 30, 2024 14:44 IST
Jacob Zuma,
Image Source : AP Former South African President Jacob Zuma

World news: Former South African president Jacob Zuma was disqualified as a candidate in South Africa’s general elections slated for May 29 due to his criminal record, the Electoral Commission (IEC) said on Friday. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail in 2021 by the highest judicial body in South Africa, the Constitutional Court after he earlier walked out of hearings at the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture.

Zuma’s own African National Congress (ANC) recalled him in February 2018 after huge public outcries about his alleged closeness to the now self-exiled Gupta family who looted billions from state-owned enterprises such as Eskom.

These entities are now financially crippled, leading to embattled electricity supplier Eskom being unable to meet the power needs of the country and the rail infrastructure inoperable.

The Guptas are believed to be in Dubai and South Africa is seeking their extradition to face trial.

Zuma spent only two months of his sentence in prison before coming out on parole on medical grounds.

The process was, however, later found to have been done irregularly. Zuma returned to prison only to be released just over an hour later when his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, granted him a special remission.

Widespread violence, looting and killings took place in two South African provinces -- his home province of KwaZulu-Natal and the economic hub of Gauteng -- following Zuma's imprisonment.

There are concerns that a similar situation might arise after his candidacy was declined as the leader of a new party that Zuma helped establish threatened violence.

The Youth President of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Party (MK), Bonginkosi Khanyile, earlier said “all hell will break loose” if Zuma and the newly formed party were not allowed on the ballot paper in May.

Zuma has been actively campaigning against the ANC that he had joined as a child and of which he was president for almost a decade.

Zuma is also facing a corruption trial that has been going on for more than a decade as he engaged in repeated delaying tactics in various courts.

Last week, he lost a bid to oust the prosecutor in the trial for alleged bias.

(With PTI inputs)

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