The Many 'Sins' Of Jacob Zuma
South African President Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday as the ruling ANC party finally turned against him after nine years of corruption scandals, economic slowdown and falling popularity.
Zuma railed against the African National Congress (ANC) for “recalling” him from office and threatening to oust him via a parliament no-confidence vote due on Thursday.
In a 30-minute national television address, Zuma said he had “come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect”.
Zuma has been in a power struggle with multi-millionaire former businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president who now becomes interim president.
While Cyril Ramaphosa will formally take over the reins of power on Friday, below are the 'sins' that showed Zuma the exit door.
Jacob Zuma’s thick skin has led to law suits and protests which pushed back some of the boundaries of free speech. Zuma sued cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known as Zapiro, and Sunday Times for R5-million over a cartoon depicting Zuma raping Lady Justice in 2010. The case was withdrawn two years later. The Spear led to protests and a big debate with sometimes unsavoury exchanges. There were also threats of boycotting City Press, which published the cartoon, but the issue was eventually defused by the parties talking.
Zuma is well-known for his libido and his unique traditional views on polygamy. It got him into trouble when he was charged with rape in 2005 for having sex with a comrade’s daughter (he was acquitted of the rape charge but admitted to intercourse). ANC supporters came out in droves to support him during the rape case, but there was a perceptible chill in 2010 when it emerged that he fathered a child with Sonono Khoza – the child of soccer boss Irvin Khoza. Zuma had to apologise before the ANC forgave him on this one.
Upgrading his Nkandla home at public expense is the kind of sin that cost him credibility and also cost him to lose his job prematurely. What was supposed to have been a security upgrade to his KwaZulu-Natal homestead turned into a project that cost more than R240-million up to date and which included non-security upgrades such as a swimming pool.
Zuma’s supporters were quick to claim that former president Thabo Mbeki was using state institutions to wage selective political battles against him. Judging from the way in which the Hawks – allegedly with the tacit blessing of No 1 – are waging battles against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Zuma could have been envious of Mbeki’s manoeuvres and is reveling in the fact that he himself now has the power to abuse state institutions to fight his political battles too.
He can be forgiven for the fact that he’s not an avid reader, but Zuma’s habit of taking ages to study important documents and findings of the many commissions of inquiry that he’s ordered to date, at times made him look unresponsive and uncaring.
Using the delaying tactic of saying he would study a report first before responding in the media – for example the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla – also create the impression of not caring.
The law of Karma seems to have caught up with Zuma. He was the major beneficiary of the ouster of former President Thabo Mbeki in 2008.
Mbeki called time on his presidency after South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) called on him to resign — opening the way for his rival and successor as party leader, Jacob Zuma, to be voted in as President despite allegations of corruption against him.
10 years after Mbeki was kicked out office, Zuma has also been given the same treatment.
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