Politics Editors Choice

Zuma targeted IEC after failing to deliver two-thirds majority and wanted to play victim again — analyst

Former president Jacob Zuma has threatened to take legal action against the IEC to challenge last week's elections outome.
Former president Jacob Zuma has threatened to take legal action against the IEC to challenge last week's elections outome.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The MK Party (MKP) targeting the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), accusing it of vote rigging without evidence and with its leader Jacob Zuma claiming the party was a victim of “fraud”, could be a political strategy to avoid accountability after failing to attain a two-thirds majority vote target. 

Unisa political analyst Dirk Kotze told TimesLIVE he believes Zuma and the MKP’s war against the IEC is fuelled by the party failing to deliver a two-thirds majority it promised its constituency when it contested elections for the first time on May 29.

Since 2005, he has been presenting himself as a political victim. There was never a possibility of him winning a majority vote, it was unrealistic.

Speaking outside the Johannesburg high court on Monday, Zuma said the party could boycott parliament as a form of protest against the results. He also threatened to take legal action against the IEC to challenge the results.

“He promised his followers a two-thirds majority but 14% is far from 67%.

“He needs to have an explanation for it and his explanation is he was disqualified, the IEC is ‘biased’ and there was ‘voter manipulation’. They are using everything to demonstrate to their voters they are genuine about this because they could not deliver a two-thirds majority. The IEC is a soft target for him [Zuma],” Kotze said.  

Zuma used the same approach when several witnesses fingered him as the mastermind behind looting of billions of rand during the state capture inquiry.

Zuma described the commission, which he established while president, as aconspiracy plot against him” to “assassinate” his character and targeted commission head chief justice Raymond Zondo. 

He took the same stance of being a victim of a “political plot” n 2005 when his fellow struggle fighter Judson Kuzwayo’s daughter Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo opened a case of rape against him. He was acquitted of rape charges by judge Willem van der Merwe in the Johannesburg high court in 2006. 

“Since 2005, he presents himself as a victim, a political victim. He made himself the victim of former president Thabo Mbeki and now he is making himself the victim of [President Cyril] Ramaphosa.  

“Whether it was the rape case or his dismissal as deputy president [in 2005] or the Zondo commission, he presents himself as a victim of political strategy. Again, now he represents himself as a victim of the IEC. He uses it to justify his own failures,” Kotze said. 

Zuma during his 2024 election campaign said he wanted to change the constitution because he believed his conviction by the Constitutional Court in 2021 for being in contempt of court was unfair.

He has promised to fight tooth and nail against the Constitutional Court’s order barring him from standing in the May 29 elections.

“When he is taken to court and loses, he says the courts are biased against him; the ANC leadership has a political strategy against him.”

Kotze said Zuma had no chance of winning the case against the IEC .

“There was never a possibility of him winning the majority vote, it was unrealistic. He did it to convince people to vote for him.

“Without substantial evidence, the MK Party has no chance of winning the case. The only evidence they seem to have is they could not reach the two-thirds majority. That it is a political statement, not evidence. 

“They can boycott parliament but it is their loss.”

The MKP has repeatedly attacked the IEC after it barred Zuma from taking part in the elections because of his criminal conviction. The MKP's Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla vowed the party would treat the IEC like a “political party” after it took her father's matter to the apex court. 

Zuma-Sambudla on Sunday took to social media describing the election as a “heist”.

Throughout the legal showdown, the MKP targeted IEC commissioner Janet Love, accusing her of being biased, without evidence, towards the party. It blamed Love for its misfortunes. The ConCourt did not find Love to have been biased in Zuma’s case. 

On the eve of special votes, MKP members published videos of voting material stored in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal, and Hammarsdale, Mpumalanga, alleging stealing of votes. No voting took place at the time.

The IEC clarified the voting material seen in the viral videos was at the commission’s storage sites in Chesterville and Hammarsdale for special votes. It had to move the material after MKP members stormed the storage areas to record videos. 

The commission said it was considering taking action against those who were involved in the saga. 

Speaking at the election results announcement on Sunday, IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya said there were attempts during election season to undermine the credibility of the institution but he assured South Africans that though there were challenges during the polls, the elections were free and fair.

“Our journey was not without challenges. It sometimes entailed concerted attacks on the members and key staff of the commission, attempts to undermine the credibility of this institution, relentless and targeted social media attacks, disinformation campaigns, unwarranted allegations and sometimes what appeared to be acts of intimidation. 

“We remained steadfast in our constitutional mandate, rising above the distractions, to ensure the will of the people was accurately reflected in the results of these elections,” he said.



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