Winnie Mandela’s criminal record bars her from politics?

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s, the ex-wife to Neslon Mandela’s criminal record could bar her from running for Parliament in the upcoming elections.

The African National Congress spokesperson Carl Niehaus on Monday confirmed that she was still on the ruling party’s nominations list for the National Assembly.

He said the ANC would scrutinise the Constitution’s criteria for MPs to see whether her suspended sentence for fraud disqualified Madikizela-Mandela, but personally suspected it did not.

“I have to look at it carefully, but the way I see it she would qualify. She did not go to jail,” Niehaus is quoted as saying. “But I’m not 100% sure,” he added.

By South African law, a person sentenced to more than 12 months in jail without the option of a fine is barred from Parliament and the provincial legislatures for five years after the sentence had been “completed”.

Madikizela-Mandela was forced to quit as an MP and president of the ANC Women’s League in 2003 but still has a strong following in the party.

She won more votes than any other candidate for the National Executive Committee at the ANC’s conference in Polokwane in December 2007.

In July 2004, she had a five-year sentence for fraud and theft reduced on appeal to three-and-a-half years for 43 convictions for fraud.

However,the sentence was suspended for five years and she never went to prison.

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