After years of scandal, is South Africa finally done with Jacob Zuma?

South Africa's "Teflon President" Jacob Zuma has brushed off an extraordinary number of corruption allegations and sc...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 2:29 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 2:29 PM

South Africa's "Teflon President" Jacob Zuma has brushed off an extraordinary number of corruption allegations and scandals in his eight years in office. In the ultimate test of his political survivability, his ruling African National Committee party publicly demanded his resignation in a "recall" on Tuesday.

The recall does not remove Zuma from office, but it does corner him. If he doesn't resign, he will face a vote of no confidence in Parliament, which he will no doubt lose without his party's support.

How did we get here?

The magnitude of corruption allegations against 75-year-old Zuma is astounding. He faces more than 780 allegations relating to a 1990s arms deal alone, and faces criticism for his links to a family of powerful businessmen, the Guptas.

But the reason his demise now seems inevitable is because his party, the African National Congress, appears to have judged that he's too much of an electoral liability.

Under Zuma, the ANC's popularity has plummeted. The party suffered huge losses in municipal elections in 2016. It even lost control of key areas in the party's heartland to the opposition Democratic Alliance.

The ANC had previously supported Zuma through several periods of scandal. But with the 2019 general election looming, the ANC appears to have judged that it needs to be rid of President sooner rather than later if it is to have any hope of restoring its once-proud image with South African voters.

The ANC has led South Africa since Nelson Mandela became the country's first black president in 1994, after the gradual end of apartheid.

Zuma often claims the ANC will "rule until Jesus comes back," but South Africans are showing appetite for something else.

Absolute loyalty from its members has always been paramount to the success of the liberation party.

In Tuesday's press conference announcing Zuma's recall, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule continued to defend the man his party was seeking to oust.

"President Zuma has not been found guilty in any court of law and when we took these decisions we did not take these decisions because comrade Zuma has done anything wrong," he said.

Who is Jacob Zuma?

Zuma was once a wildly popular figure who was celebrated as an anti-apartheid hero in Mandela's realm.

He was arrested by the apartheid government in 1963 and was sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island, the penal colony that also then held Mandela.

He took on official government positions as the country transitioned to democracy and he served as deputy president from 1999 to 2005.

Born in Nkandla in rural KwaZulu-Natal to a policeman and a domestic worker, Zuma joined the ANC and South African Communist Party at a young age.

He never received much of a formal education, but he emerged a cunning politician able to outsmart his political opponents.

He helped oust President Thabo Mbeki, and at the end of 2007 he beat Mbeki to become ANC leader. Zuma became president after elections in 2009 and was re-elected in 2014.

But his story is very much one of a fall from grace, and the leader has at times been the subject of ridicule in the country.

After being charged with the rape of a woman with HIV in 2005, he was mocked for saying he did not fear contracting the virus because he took a shower after sex. A court acquitted him in 2006 of rape, finding the sex to have been consensual.

In 2016, South Africa's top court ruled that Zuma had acted unconstitutionally when he used $15 million in public funds to upgrade his private home and ordered him to repay some of the money.

Why does he keep surviving?

The ANC has tolerated Zuma's antics for some time. Previously the party believed ousting him would be a blow to the ANC as it would hand an easy win to the opposition.

Zuma is not the first ANC member to be accused of corruption, and the party has sought to show a unified front to the South African people. It also valued and preached loyalty among party members.

Zuma has also used his stealth to stay in power. He has reshuffled his Cabinet several times to reward those loyal to him and punish those against him.

Although he has seen his popularity slide, Zuma has been one of South Africa's most colorful and charismatic leaders, and is still popular with some South Africans, particularly in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 59°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 62°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Logansport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events