Scandals, political intrigue and legal dramas... A look at the Zuma years
Posted by Editor
President Jacob Zuma’s fate has been hanging in the
balance since the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader in December. But
Zuma has been through far worse. The past decade has been a turbulent time for
the man from Nkandla, who has fended off rape charges, multiple motions of no
confidence, romantic scandals and a lingering cloud of corruption charges.
We take a look back at Zuma’s political fortunes
over the last several years.
2007 – Zuma became the president of the ANC on 18
December 2007 after defeating incumbent Thabo Mbeki at the ANC conference in
Zuma beat Mbeki after a fierce battle in the run-up
to the conference, seen as unprecedented by many. Zuma was fighting for his
political survival after Mbeki had fired him two years before in light of a
court judgment that linked Zuma to corruption allegations. On 2 June 2005,
Zuma’s friend Schabir Shaik had been found guilty of corruption and fraud after
allegedly bankrolling Zuma in exchange for political protection.
Zuma will take the country to the promised land," said one supporter.
Zuma’s victory was celebrated in his home province. Ethekwini municipality manager Michael Sutcliffe said: “Ethekwini municipality was probably the first region in the country to really say we were not happy with the firing of Jacob Zuma as deputy president. Since then we have supported him but we have also supported the importance of democracy in the ANC.
“The ANC has led this continent and probably leads the world in terms of democratic practices and tonight this was affirmed.”
“It means a lot to us. It was long overdue. We waited for this thing for five years,” said one young reveler in Durban. “We are very happy that Zuma has taken over because he's our comrade and we believe in him. He will take the country to the promised land.”
2008 – Zuma’s foe, Thabo Mbeki, resigns after being
ousted by the ANC’s national executive committee. The recall was triggered by a
court judgment that found Zuma’s attempted prosecution was unlawful on procedural
grounds. The court agreed that Zuma should constitutionally have been allowed
to make representations to the National Prosecuting Authority before being
charged. Zuma had always argued that the corruption charges were part of a
political conspiracy. Judge Chris Nicholson fuelled that suspicion by stating
that political interference may have played a role in the decision to charge
2009 – Mbeki successfully challenges the Nicholson
ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Deputy Judge President Louis Harms found
that the NPA was not under an obligation to invite representations from accused
individuals. Harms also found that Nicholson had overstepped the mark by
commenting on the politics involved in the case.
On 6 April 2009, NPA dropped all charges against
Zuma, as well as co-accused French arms company Thint, after revelations that
Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former National Director of Public
Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka had discussed the timing of the charges laid
2012 – Zuma is reelected ANC president, despite the
biggest scandal of his political career, as it was called by journalist AdriaanBasson.
2016 – This was arguably the beginning of the end
for Zuma. On March 31 2016 no less than the Constitutional Court ruled that
Zuma had breached the supreme law of the land by accepting state-funded
upgrades to his Nkandla estate to the tune of R240 million.
2017 – Zuma’s future seems to be a fait accomplis after
his allies are defeated at the ANC elective conference.
2018 – The ANC top six leadership ask Zuma to
resign. The nation is left in limbo.