Home National Constitutional Court Extends Deadline for Zuma and MK Party’s Legal Response in IEC Appeal

Constitutional Court Extends Deadline for Zuma and MK Party’s Legal Response in IEC Appeal

by Central News Reporter
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The Constitutional Court

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court has accorded additional time for the submission of response affidavits concerning the challenge lodged by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) against the Electoral Court’s ruling. This decisive ruling previously enabled former President Jacob Zuma to remain on the parliamentary list of the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party. The extension, seen as a crucial move, emerged after a united request from both Zuma and the MK Party.

Acknowledging the gravity of the matter, the Deputy Chief Justice ensued directions stating, “Respondents that are opposing the application must file answering affidavits on or before Tuesday, 30 April 2024. Further directions may be issued,” thus allowing the involved parties a breather amid the bustling pre-election activities.

The request for an extension was firmly rooted in the MK Party’s appeal to the court, underscored by spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela, who labeled the initial 48-hour ultimatum as “unreasonable”. The dynamics of the electoral fervour and logistical hurdles formed the crux of their appeal for more time, highlighting the arduous path to arranging comprehensive legal responses under such stringent deadlines.

“Our offices have only been able to make contact with our clients and counsel until this morning [Thursday],” elucidated the MK Party’s legal representation, laying bare the challenges faced in mobilising their legal team amidst the electoral campaign whirlwind. The complexity of the case juxtaposed with the Electoral Court’s lack of rationale further compounded the predicament, necessitating an urgent call for an extension.

Initially, the apex court had directed the MK Party and Zuma to present their defence by the preceding Thursday, following the IEC’s appeal against the Electoral Court’s decision to uphold Zuma’s candidacy. The heart of the dispute traces back to an IEC objection, which disqualified Zuma based on his prior conviction and imprisonment for defying a court order.

In its quest for judicial clarity, the IEC voiced its intent, saying, “The Commission confirms that it has lodged an urgent and direct appeal to the Constitutional Court relating to the order of the Electoral Court setting aside its decision”. A clear elucidation on section 47(1)(e) was deemed vital not only for the imminent election but also for future electoral integrity, steering clear of political controversies.

As the procedural timeline takes shape, the Constitutional Court’s adjusted directive underscores the criticality of resolving this legal entanglement before the electoral timeline progresses further. Meanwhile, the MK Party has lambasted the IEC’s appeal as a politically charged campaign, insinuating undue influence by factions opposing Zuma, including Freedom Under Law and the Democratic Alliance.

The MK Party further criticised the IEC’s seemingly partial stance, alleging its fall into political manipulation under specific political and financial circles. “Therefore, it is clear to the MK Party that under the leadership of Ms. Love, IEC ventured into the political arena, aligning itself with particular political interests rather than upholding its mandate to ensure an unbiased electoral process,” the statement concluded.

Former President Jacob Zuma


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