- Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma also known as uMsholozi and JZ was born on 12 April 1942 and served as the fourth President of South Africa from 2009 until his resignation on 14 February 2018. Zuma served as Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 until 2005 when he was dismissed by former President Thabo Mbeki as a result of his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of soliciting a bribe for him. As it is now known, Zuma mobilised against Thabo Mbeki and was elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) in 2007 at the ANC conference in Polokwane.
Highlights of Zuma’s leadership
- Zuma was elected President of South Africa
- Zuma was re-elected as ANC leader at the ANC conference in Mangaung in 2012, defeating Kgalema Motlanthi.
- He was charged with rape in 2005, but was acquitted.
- In April 2009 the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges of racketeering and corruption against Zuma, citing political interference.
- That decision was challenged by the Democratic Alliance( DA) and is now before the NPA for reconsideration.
- Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Zuma had benefited inappropriately from the expenditure, and the Constitutional Court unanimously held in 2016’s Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly that Zuma had failed to uphold the country’s constitution.
- Zuma is also implicated in reports of state capture through his friendship with the influential Gupta family.
Freedom fighting years
Zuma joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1963 and was then arrested and convicted for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government. He was sentenced to ten years at Robben Island and served with the likes of Nelson Mandela. It is documented that after his release he was a key player in the re-establishment of ANC underground structures in the Natal province and thereafter became the head of intelligence of the ANC.
In 1975 Zuma left South Africa, “met Thabo Mbeki in Swaziland, and proceeded to Mozambique, where he dealt with the arrival of thousands of exiles in the wake of the Soweto uprising.” He served on the ANC’s political and military council when it was formed in the mid-1980s, and was elected to the polit-bureau of the SACP in April 1989.
Subsequent to the end of the ban on the ANC in February 1990, Zuma was one of the first ANC leaders to return. Zuma was elected Chairperson of the ANC for the Southern Natal region in 1990, and played a top role in fighting political violence in the region between members of the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party. He was later chosen to be the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC, and in January 1994, he was nominated as the ANC candidate for the Premiership of KwaZulu Natal.
Zuma will go down as South Africa’s most controversial President. From the first day he took the office of the presidency the man was bad news in the South African political landscape, from rape to corruption charges to not upholding the constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The question on our minds now is how the cautery moves to elect a leader who is the opposite of those we have experienced in the past nine years.