Confirmed! JZ on the ballot paper as South Africans living abroad gear up to vote this weekend

Former president Jacob Zuma’s face has been confirmed to be on the ballot paper. Picture: Screenshot

Former president Jacob Zuma’s face has been confirmed to be on the ballot paper. Picture: Screenshot

Published May 16, 2024


While South Africans living abroad are preparing to cast their vote as part of this year’s national and provincial elections, former president Jacob Zuma’s face has been confirmed to be on the ballot paper.

This after there was widespread confusion regarding the pending Constitutional Court case involving Zuma’s eligibility to stand for Parliament brought to court by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).

Zuma is the leader of the ANC breakaway uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) where he is number one on the party’s candidate list to Parliament.

The party will be launching their manifesto ahead of the elections at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

In contention at the apex court is whether Zuma is eligible to be in Parliament following the May 29 elections if his party gets enough seats.

The matter stems from Zuma’s conviction for contempt of court in 2021 after he refused to appear before the state capture commission.

He was sentenced to 15 months in jail. The Constitution bars anyone found guilty and sentenced to a jail term of 12 months or more, without the option of a fine, from standing for public office.

The IEC approached the court after the Electoral Court ruled that Zuma would be eligible to appear on the ballot, but the case has since been reserved.

The former president’s daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla boasted on social media that her father's face was on the ballot paper regardless of the pending Concourt case.

Zuma-Sambudla has been by her father’s side since he was in the political wilderness, attending court cases. She read his statement in December last year, announcing that he would be campaigning for the MKP instead of his beloved ANC.

She wrote on X on Wednesday night: “Ballot papers arrived in London and President Zuma’s face is on the ballot…voting is happening this weekend whilst us in SA will be at Orlando Stadium waiting for president Zuma to deliver the people’s mandate.”

She also posted the ballot paper showing Zuma’s face on it.

The IEC has since made it clear that the outcome of the court would not affect the ballot as voting equipment arrived in nine countries in preparation for the polls.

Addressing the media this week, IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo confirmed that because Zuma was the registered leader of the MKP, his picture was therefore eligible to be on the ballot.

“Whether he is a candidate, it has no bearing on that aspect because you are on the ballot if you are the registered leader of the party, irrespective of whether you are a candidate in the election. There won’t be any effect on the ballot paper,” said Mamabolo.

The commission further confirmed that about 76 000 registered South Africans living abroad would be voting from today (Friday), while 24 000 will be voting in London.

London is the largest international voting station followed by The Hague in the Netherlands, Canberra in Australia and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

South African citizens in nine countries will vote today while the rest in 102 nations will cast their votes tomorrow.

Mamabolo said the commission was expecting the process to run smoothly. All 111 missions had already received election material and about 160 organisations on standby as observers.

“About 15 of these organisations are international, including the AU, the Carter Centre’s democracy programme and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. International observers will be briefed on May 26,” Mamabolo said.

The IEC added that voting stations would be open from 7am to 7pm local time at most foreign missions, except in London, Washington and New York, which will be open from 7am to 9pm.

“In respect of the mission in the United Kingdom, the commission has determined two days of special voting. These are Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 May 2024 from 7am to 9pm.”

Mamabolo initially said that the extended voting hours were intended to enable “proper” arrangements for the nearly 25 000 voters registered.