Election officials have said Nelson Mandela’s former wife, Winnie can run in South Africa’s election next month despite having a fraud conviction.

Ms Madikleza-Mandela’s opponents had filed an appeal saying constitutional rules barred her from parliament. The African National Congress which named her as a candidate argued that the rule did not apply because she had never been sent to jail

The independent electoral commission ruled in favour of the ANC. According to South Africa’s constitution anyone sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of fine is disqualified from parliament until 5 months after the sentence has been completed. After an appeal in July 2004, Ms Madiklezaa Mandela received a three and a half year sentence for fraud which was suspended for five years. The Democratic alliance and freedom front parties lodged formal objections to Ms Madiklezaa Mandela’s nomination arguing that the sentence was still active. But in a statement the electoral commission said: “the candidate is not disqualified from standing as a candidate in the election of 22 April 2009. The objection is accordingly dismissed. The Democratic alliance said it would wait for the commission to explain its ruling before deciding on further action.



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