IEC stands by Zuma as MK Party leader in spite of Concourt case

South Africa - Pretoria - 14 May 2024 - IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo at a media briefing on preparations for Out-of-Country voting. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

South Africa - Pretoria - 14 May 2024 - IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo at a media briefing on preparations for Out-of-Country voting. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published May 14, 2024


The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) CEO, Sy Mamabolo, has again clarified the status of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party leader, Jacob Zuma, saying that not withstanding in a Constitutional Court case between the IEC and the MK Party, Zuma remained the face of the party as he was its only recognised leader.

Mamabolo was addressing the media on Tuesday, on the IEC’s state of readiness to host a free and fair 2024 general election in just under two weeks locally, and four days internationally.

South Africa is headed to the polls on May 29 amid a series of challenges with parties such as the Labour Party and others challenging the IEC on some of its registration processes, while the MK Party awaits its fate at the Apex Court.

The Labour Party has gone as far as calling for the polls to be postponed due to IEC technical glitches which prevented it from filing its candidates lists on time.

“The issue about the outcomes of the Constitutional Court matter involving the erstwhile President, Mr Zuma - the outcome will have no bearing on the ballot paper. As matters stand, Mr Zuma is the registered leader of the MK Party. To that extent, he is the person whose photograph is on the ballot paper for the MK Party. Whether he is a candidate or not, it has no bearing in that aspect, because you are on the ballot if you are the registered leader of a political party, irrespective of whether you are a candidate or not in the election,” Mamabolo said.

On the elections, Mamabolo said the commission was hard at work to ensure that the elections are a success, including for more than the 78 000 SA citizens who are expected to vote outside of the country at 111 diplomatic missions.

“The road to the 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE2024) is rapidly approaching. We are in the final and most critical stages of the preparations. We are now two days to out-of-country voting; twelve days before special votes are cast in the Republic; and 14 days to the general elections on May 29.

“This Friday, 17 May 2024 will mark yet another milestone in the Elections Timetable - the first day of voting in the NPE2024. South African citizens living in other countries will cast the first ballots on 17 May 2024,” he said.

Early this week, the African Transformation Movement objected to having Zanu-PF being among the observer missions during the elections after the party was seen campaigning with the governing party.

Reacting to this, Mamabolo said the commission had not granted Zanu-PF any observer mission status. However, more than 160 organisations had been granted this status.

“Indeed, the IEC did receive a letter from Mr Zungula complaining about the alleged presence of Zanu-PF. We have nothing to do really as a commission with their presence in the country as they are not an accredited observer mission. The commission has not approved them, has not accredited them.

“So, they won’t be observing these elections and communication in that regard has been made available to Mr Zungula,” said Mamabolo.

On other stakeholders participating in the elections, he said: “The Commission is pleased to share that a record 160 organisations with 5000 observers domestically and from around the world will be observing South Africa’s 2024 general elections. About 15 of these observer organisations are international and include the African Union, The Carter Centre Democracy Program, and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.”

The Star