South African Police Investigate Alleged Signature Forgery by Jacob Zuma's MK Party

South African police investigate allegations of forged signatures by former President Zuma's new party, MK, to register for 2024 elections. Integrity of electoral process at stake as ruling ANC faces potential loss of majority.

Nitish Verma
New Update
South African Police Investigate Alleged Signature Forgery by Jacob Zuma's MK Party

South African Police Investigate Alleged Signature Forgery by Jacob Zuma's MK Party

South African police have initiated an inquiry into allegations that former President Jacob Zuma's newly formed MK Party forged supporters' signatures to register for the pivotal national elections scheduled for May 29, 2024. The probe follows a report by a former party official claiming there was an elaborate scheme to falsify some of the 15,000 signatures required for the party to register with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola confirmed that an inquiry has been opened at the Cape Town central police station to verify the validity of the signatures submitted by the MK Party. "We have opened an inquiry to look at the allegations that have been made," Masemola stated. "The investigation is at a preliminary stage, and we are still assessing the evidence."

The IEC has called for a prompt investigation into the matter, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the integrity of the electoral process. "The Electoral Commission has noted with concern the allegations of fraudulent registration of a political party," the IEC said in a statement. "We have filed a criminal complaint with the police and urge them to investigate this matter expeditiously to establish the veracity of these allegations."

The MK Party, known for its criticism of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) which Zuma once led, had its initial registration rejected by the IEC before a second attempt was successful. Zuma, who was previously ruled ineligible to stand as a candidate due to a criminal conviction, has appealed the decision, with a final Constitutional Court ruling expected next month.

Lennox Ntsodo, the former MK Party official who reported the alleged forgery to the police, claimed that he appointed a team to extensively forge signatures after the IEC rejected the party's initial application. Ntsodo alleged that the team fraudulently obtained names, identity numbers, and cellphone numbers of job seekers from a database to create the fake supporter lists.

Why this matters: The upcoming elections are seen as pivotal for South Africa, with the ruling ANC potentially losing its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994. Zuma's involvement and the MK Party's legal troubles could have a significant impact on the election outcome and the future political landscape of the country.

Police Minister Bheki Cele voiced concerns about the possibility of election-related violence and stated that the police will take action against anyone threatening the electoral process. The IEC has emphasized that an expeditious investigation is essential to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections. If evidence of forgery is found, the case will be referred to the National Prosecution Authority, and the MK Party could face disqualification from contesting the elections.

Key Takeaways

  • South African police probe allegations of forged signatures by Zuma's MK Party.
  • IEC calls for prompt investigation to maintain electoral integrity, threatens disqualification.
  • Zuma appeals ineligibility ruling, final Constitutional Court decision expected next month.
  • Upcoming elections seen as pivotal, with ANC potentially losing parliamentary majority.
  • Police minister voices concerns about election-related violence, vows action against threats.