No regrets in granting Zuma remission of sentence, says Ramaphosa

MK Party event
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The African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has no regrets in granting former President Jacob Zuma remission of sentence. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months behind bars by the Constitutional Court but was released three months into his term by President Ramaphosa.

The Electoral Commission upheld objections to Zuma’s candidacy for the MK Party for the upcoming elections due to the sentence. But the Electoral Court overruled the IEC in a judgment that’s now been taken to the Constitutional Court for an appeal.

“No, there’s no regret. We took the decision, as we decided that we should move in that direction. And the remission was a generalized mission. It was not specific to him. So when I took the decision, it was not specifically aimed at former President Jacob Zuma. It was a broad decision that affected many other people who needed a remission and it was being done so that we can reduce the numbers of people in our prisons because they are burgeoning at the seams. There are too many people in our prisons, so I don’t regret that decision. And what is happening with the IEC case is what happens in politics and state governance issues and we handle it as we move on.”

Ramaphosa has also defended IEC Commissioner Janet Love, who is facing an onslaught from the MK Party.

He adds that the Electoral Commission is independent and isn’t playing into the political arena by approaching the Constitutional Court.

“And so no individual IEC consular should be pointed out as having done this or that. It is the entire IEC commission that has taken the decision. And the decision is based, as I heard it and understood it, on bringing clarity to the law, so that the Constitutional Court, which is the repository of the entity that should interpret our law, so that they interpret the law and give clarity once and for all, for all parties and for all time. So that is what has given it. And I don’t really buy this notion that the IEC is venturing into politics, the IEC is inherently non-political. It is independent and we must defend independence, just as we should defend the independence of our courts.”

The ANC President has also called on South Africans not to be despondent due to the political noise around the elections as the country has a strong constitutional democracy.

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