Ex-President Zuma barred from standing for SA Parliament

0
63
A ‘Zuma must fall’ demonstration in South Africa

South Africa’s highest court has barred former President Jacob Zuma from running for parliament in next week’s general election.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Monday that his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court disqualified him.
Zuma was convicted in 2021 for refusing to testify at an inquiry investigating corruption during his presidency which ended in 2018.
He has been campaigning under the banner of the newly formed uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party after falling out with the governing African National Congress (ANC).
MK secretary general Sihle Ngubane said the party was ‘disappointed’ with the ruling, but it would not affect its campaign and Zuma’s face would remain on the ballot paper for the 29th May election.
He said: ‘He is still the leader of the party. It (the judgment) doesn’t affect our campaign at all.
‘South Africans vote for political parties, with the candidates at the top of their lists getting parliamentary seats depending on the number of votes the party gets.’
Some MK members sang and danced outside the court and claimed that Zuma is a victim, while those inside the court – some dressed in traditional Zulu regalia – sat silently as the judgement was handed down by Justice Leona Theron.
Zuma’s supporters rioted after he was sent to jail in 2021, and some of its leaders had threatened violence if the court disqualified him from standing for parliament.
But MK officials have since changed their rhetoric, saying the party’s focus was on getting a two-thirds majority so that South Africa’s constitution could be changed, and Zuma could be returned to power.
In court, his lawyers had argued that because he was released after three months in prison by his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the rest of his sentence was cancelled.
But the court disagreed, saying the length of time he actually spent in prison was irrelevant.
Justice Theron said: ‘South Africa’s constitution barred anyone sentenced to 12 months in prison, without the option of a fine, from serving in parliament in order to protect the integrity of the “democratic regime” established after the end of the racist system of apartheid in 1994.’
Ramaphosa told a local radio station that he ‘noted’ the ruling.
He added: ‘The court has ruled, and as I have often said, that is the highest court in the land and we have given the judiciary the right to arbitrate disputes amongst us in terms of our constitution,’
Ramaphosa replaced Zuma as president in 2018 after a vicious power struggle, and is leading the ANC’s campaign to extend its 30-year rule.
Zuma said last December that he could never vote for a party led by Ramaphosa and has spearheaded the MK’s campaign.
This will be the first election that it will contest after it was registered as a party last September.
The political party’s emergence has raised the prospect that the ANC could lose its parliamentary majority for the first time in 30 years.
An Ipsos opinion poll released last month gave Zuma’s party eight per cent of the vote, and the ANC 40 per cent as it loses support to the MK and other opposition parties.
But some analysts suggest that with the governing party stepping up its campaign in recent weeks, it could still cross the 50 per cent mark.
uMkhonto we Sizwe, which roughly translates as Spear of the Nation, is the original name of the ANC’s armed wing, which fought apartheid.
Meanwhile on Monday, The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) released a statement in which it said that it is ‘displeased’ that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has approved the Electricity Amendment Regulation (ERA) Bill.
SAFTU stated: ‘This is a win for the private sector and deals a great blow to public ownership and production for social need, not for profit.
‘SAFTU has made a parliamentary submission to oppose this bill, which will dismantle Eskom’s monopoly in energy generation, liberalise the electricity generation market, and hasten the privatisation of electricity generation.
‘The Bill establishes a framework for the creation of the transmission company and the market for energy generators.
‘This transmission company, which has already been registered, is aimed at furthering the objectives of privatising energy provision in this country.
‘This law is not introducing anything new.
‘It is merely codifying into law the political economy of market liberalism which was first implemented with the procurement of power from the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in Bid Window 1 in 2011.
‘The Bill provides a legal framework for the proliferation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which will, in line with the plans to unbundle and dismantle Eskom, produce 66 per cent of South Africa’s electricity by 2035 (according to Eskom’s projection presented to the Presidential Climate Commission).
‘They have planned to decommission Eskom’s coal fleet without investing heavily in its renewable capacity.
‘The idea is to replace Eskom’s dominance by having IPPs dominate the production of electricity through renewables.
‘To incentivise the private producers to invest in generation, the electricity tariff structure will guarantee the private investors a risk of return – i.e. profits.
‘Higher tariffs to guarantee profits to the private producers will come at a high social cost, where ordinary working people will not afford electricity.
‘SAFTU rejects the ERA Bill as nothing but the codification of market liberalism into law that will subject the energy needs of our society to profit motives.’

  • Truck drivers and general workers at distribution company SG Convenience have embarked on strike action. About 700 workers have downed tools in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng over wages.

The striking workers are organised under the Dynamic People’s Union of South Africa (DYPUSA), a Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliate.
The union says workers at the company’s warehouses are doing their duties without proper PPE and danger allowances.
SG Convenience is a distribution company that delivers goods to small retail stores, hotels and fuel stations.
The union says the strike will affect deliveries at various convenience stores and the hospitality industry.
‘The Dynamic People’s Union of South Africa is embarking on a protected strike action which started on Monday at 5.00am.
‘The strike is a national strike in Nelspruit, KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and Elandsfontein. The company employs about 700 employees, of whom over 60 per cent are members of DYPUSA.
‘The strike is all about the wages. they are getting paid below minimum, they are also paid less allowances, they are also not paid the SNT subsistence allowances.’
Mashudu Raphetha, general Secretary of DYPUSA said: ‘Our members are subjected to guard the trucks, sleep in the trucks in dangerous areas and this company delivers pies, sweets, chocolates and all groceries within the republic of South Africa especially in all fuel stations such as Engen garages, Sasol, global and so on and so on.
‘This company also supplies snacks in all hotels such as Sun hotels, they’ve got 300 trucks that will be standing still.
‘The production will be stopped and this company delivers goods to a Kruger National Park and those goods won’t be delivered tomorrow.
‘What we want is a living wage, we’ve submitted the rates, the employees are paid below minimum.’

  • Workers are set to go on strike in the cash in transit (CIT) sector, and are awaiting the verdict of the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) which will decide this week whether they are allowed to do so.

Members of the Motor Transport Workers Union (MTWU), who work for the private multi-national security company G4S transporting cash around the countries to banks and ATM machines, are demanding a third member of staff on their teams – which currently compromise only two people one of them often only having a driving role.
If the strike is given the go ahead it could lead to a shortage of money at banks and in ATMs and will have a significant effect on the South African economy.
It will affect not just people trying to withdraw cash but many shops and businesses across the country.
A decision is due today.