Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma is an incumbent President of the Republic of South Africa and the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa. He is the 4th President of Sooth Africa, he was elected by parliament after the ANC’s victory at the 2009 General Elections and assumed office on May 9, 2009 and was re-elected in the 2014 General Elections.

Born Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
April 12, 1942
Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa
Occupation President of South Africa
President of the ANC
Nationality South African
Political Party ANC
Wives Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo
Kate Zuma
Nkosazana Dlamini
Nompumelelo Ntuli
Thobeka Mabhija
Bongekile Ngema
Children Estimated to be 21
Religion Protestantism

4th President of South Africa

May 9, 2009 – to date
Deputy Kgalema Motlanthe
Cyril Ramaphosa
Preceded By Kgalema Motlanthe

13th President of the ANC

December 18, 2007 – to date
Deputy Kgalema Motlanthe
Cyril Ramaphosa
Preceded By Thabo Mbeki

Deputy President of South Africa

June 14, 1999 – June 14, 2005
President Thabo Mbeki
Preceded By Thabo Mbeki
Succeeded By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma was in Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

His fathers was a policeman, he died when Jacob Zuma was still young.

His mother was a domestic worker.

Jacob Zuma never attended any school to receive formal primary or secondary education.

Growing up, Jacob Zuma moved around the province a lot. He spent a lot of time in Umkhumbane, an area in Durban tucked between Cato Manor and Chesterville.

He has two brothers, Michael Zuma and Joseph Zuma.

Jacob Zuma is often referred to as “JZ” pronounced “jay-zee” and/ or sometimes “Msholozi”, his clan name.


Early Political Endeavours

Jacob Zuma joined the ANC around the age of 17 in 1959.

In 1961, the South African government of the apartheid regime banned the ANC.

In 1962, at the age of 20, Jacob Zuma became an active member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, an armed wing of the African National Congress, co-founded by Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Sharpeville Massacre.

In 1963 following the banning of the African National Congress in South Africa, he joined the South African Communist Party (SACP).


Arrest and Imprisonment

In 1963, Jacob Zuma along 45 recruits were arrested in Zeerust, the western Transvaal today’s North West province.

They were tried and later convicted of conspiring to overthrow the South African government of the Apartheid regime.

A regime which was orchestrated and led by the white minority and rigged in favour of that minority.

Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, a sentence he served in Robben Island along with Nelson Mandela and other notable political figures who were imprisoned there at the time for opposing the apartheid regime.

While in prison, Jacob Zuma was the referee of the Prisoner’s Football Association matches.

The matches were organized by the prisoner’s governing body, Makana Football Association.

The association was named after Makhanda ‘Makana’ Nxele, a Xhosa prophet who had been imprisoned in the same prison over 150 years earlier, escaped, drowned and died during that daring escape of December 25, 1819.

Release from Prison and Exile

Upon release, Jacob Zuma played a major role in the re-establishment of the African National Congress underground structures in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal (then Natal Province).

In 1975, he left South Africa for Swaziland where he met Thabo Mbeki. He proceeded to Mozambique.

In 1976, while in Mozambique, he dealt with thousands that arrived in that country from South Africa in the wake of the Soweto Uprising of that year which saw Hector Pieterson killed and Mbuyisa Makhubo go missing.

In 1977, Jacob Zuma became the member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC. He also served as the Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC in that country until 1984 when the Nkomati Accord was signed at which point he became the Chief Representative of the ANC.

Jacob Zuma served in the ANC political and military councils which formed in the mid 1980’s

In January 1987, Zuma was forced to leave Mozambique by its government. He relocated to Lusaka in Zambia where he was appointed Head of the Underground Structures of the ANC and later Chief of the Intelligence Department.

In April 1989, he was elected to the principal policy-making committee (politburo) of the SACP.



Return to South Africa from Exile

In February 1990, the ban imposed on the ANC 27 years earlier in 1963 was lifted which meant those who were in exile could now return home. Jacob Zuma was among the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin negotiations.

Thabo Mbeki + Jacob ZumaIn that year, he was also nominated Chairperson of the ANC in the Southern Natal region.

This was at the height of the political violence, especially between the ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members, which would later be known as “black on black” violence.

As a one of the leaders of the ANC in that province, he was called upon to help combat the violence through negotiations and peaceful means.

In 1991 Jacob Zuma was nominated the Deputy Secretary of the African National Congress.

In 1994, he was nominated as the African National Congress premier candidate for the newly formed province of KwaZulu Natal. However, he never became the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal as this was one of two provinces the ANC failed to win and one of three provinces the ANC failed to earn 50% of the votes or more.



Provincial Leadership

The ANC lost the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the IFP and as a result Zuma never became the Premier of that province.

The ANC was the official opposition there and Zuma was appointed the provincial Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Economic Affairs and Tourism for the KwaZulu-Natal government.

This was after he chose to step aside and allow Thabo Mbeki to run for Deputy President unopposed.



National Leadership

In December 1994, Jacob Zuma was elected National Chairperson of the ANC and the Chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.

In 1996, he was re-elected Chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal but not as National Chairperson of the ANC.

In December 1997, Jacob Zuma was elected Deputy President of the ANC at the Mafikeng Elective Congress of the ANC where Thabo Mbeki became president of the party and Nelson Mandela chose not to run for re-election.

This meant that if the ANC win the 1999 General Elections, Thabo Mbeki will be President of South Africa and Jacob Zuma will be Deputy President of South Africa.

The ANC won those elections and on June 14, 1999, Jacob Zuma was appointed by Thabo Mbeki executive Deputy President of South Africa.

While Deputy President of South Africa, worked in Kampala, Uganda as the the facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process alongside the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni is the chair of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative, a grouping of regional presidents overseeing the peace process in Burundi, where several armed Hutu groups took up arms in 1993 against a government and army dominated by the Tutsi minority that they claimed had assassinated the first president elected from the Hutu majority.

The 2004 General Elections came and went, for the most part, everyone maintained their positions in government and int the ANC.

In 2005, in the wake of Schabir Shaik scandal, the resulting conviction and allegations of the corruption relating the now infamous ‘arms deal’ of 1999, then President Thabo Mbeki fired Jacob Zuma from his post as Deputy President of South Africa and was replaced with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the wife of Bulelani Ngcuka.

Zuma’s future had, (and has since) never looked as bleak as it did back then, it was unthinkable that he would survive the legal darkness that awaited him much less become President of South Africa.



Corruption Charges and Trial

Jacob Zuma found himself of the centre of corruption charges after he was a key figure mentioned in the trial of his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, in 2004.

Bulelani Ngcuka, the national director of Public Prosecutions at the time, investigated Jacob Zuma and then Chief Whip of the ANC, Tony Yengeni, after they were alleged to have abused power.

The allegations, investigation and charges centered around the Jacob Zuma’s improper influence as well as that of Tony Yengeni and the enduring question of the financial benefit that may have resulted due to that influence.

Durban businessman and then Jacob Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was questioned over the was questioned over bribery in the course of the purchase of Valour class frigates for the South African Navy, a proposed waterfront development in the city of Durban, and spending on Zuma’s residence in Nkandla.

In his own trial, Shaik, was shown to have solicited a bribe of R500 000 per year for Zuma in return for Zuma’s support for the defence contractor Thomson CSF, documented in the infamous “encrypted fax”.

On June 2, 2005, Schabir Shaik was found guilty and was later sentenced to 15 years in prison. On March 3, 2009, Shaik was released from prison on medical parole.

Following the trial of Schabir Shaik and what transpired from it, Jacob Zuma was formally charged with corruption by the National Prosecuting of South Africa.

The prosecution applied for postponement and that application was dismissed and as a result, the case was struck from the roll of the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

When the court dismissed the prosecution’s postponement application it put in doubt the defence need to apply for for a permanent stay of proceedings which would have prevented Jacob Zuma from being criminally prosecuted.

While Zuma claimed that he desired that the matter appear in court, his legal team continued their efforts to delay the proceedings and succeeded in preventing critical evidence from being available to the court further forcing the prosecution to apply for postponement on the already set date.

The prosecution did not succeed and the case was struck from the roll, however, Jacob Zuma’s team also failed in their attempts to have the courts grant a permanent stay of proceedings.

This meant the Jacob Zuma could be charged with corruption again as soon as the National Prosecuting Authority was finished preparing its case.

On November 8, 2007, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the National Prosecuting Authority with respect to appeals relating to various search and seizure exercises performed. It also rejected four appeals made by Jacob Zuma’s defence team.

This ruling pertained to the National Prosecuting Authority obtaining of the personal diary of senior member of a French arms company, could have provided information relating to Jacob Zuma’s possible corrupt practices during the awarding of the weapons acquisition deal infamously known as ‘the arms deal’.

On December 28, 2007, the Scorpions served Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud.

On August 4, 2008, Jacob Zuma appeared in court.

On September 12, 2008, Judge Chris Nicholson of the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that corruption charges against Jacob Zuma were unlawful on procedural grounds in that the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) did not give him a chance to make representations before deciding to charge him, as per Constitution of South Africa, and directed the state to pay legal costs.

Judge Chris Nicholson went on to say that he believed political interference played a very big role in the decision to recharge Jacob Zuma, however he did not say this was the reason why he ruled that the charges brought against him were unlawful, although it was implied.

Judge Chris Nicholson further stressed that the ruling related to neither innocence nor guilt of Jacob Zuma, the ruling was merely on a procedural point.

It was reported in the media that the corruption charges against Jacob Zuma had been dismissed but this was not the case as the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions could still charge him again provided he had been given an opportunity to make representations to the NDPP in respect of the NDPP’s decision to do so. In paragraph 47 of the Judgment, Judge Chris Nicholson wrote,

The obligation to hear representations forms part of the audi alteram partem principle. What is required is that a person who may be adversely affected by a decision be given an opportunity to make representations with a view to procuring a favourable result. The affected person should usually be informed of the gist or the substance of the case, which he is to answer.

The Court held that the NDPP’s failure to follow the procedure outlined in Section 179(5)(d) of the Constitution rendered the decision by the NDPP to recharge Zuma unlawful. Judge Nicholson found that there were various inferences to be drawn from the timing of the charges leveled against Zuma (such as the fact that he was charged soon after he was elected president of the ANC) which would warrant a conclusion that there had been a degree of political interference by the Executive arm of government. Judge Nicholson writes in paragraph 210 of his judgement,

The timing of the indictment [of Zuma] by Mr Mpshe on 28 December 2007, after the President suffered a political defeat at Polokwane was most unfortunate. This factor, together with the suspension of Mr Pikoli, who was supposed to be independent and immune from executive interference, persuade me that the most plausible inference is that the baleful political influence was continuing.

In paragraph 220 of the Judgement Judge Chris Nicholson went on to write,

There is a distressing pattern in the behavior which I have set out above indicative of political interference, pressure or influence. It commences with the “political leadership” given by Minister Maduna to Mr Ngcuka, when he declined to prosecute the applicant, to his communications and meetings with Thint representatives and the other matters to which I have alluded. Given the rules of evidence the court is forced to accept the inference which is the least favourable to the party’s cause who had peculiar knowledge of the true facts. It is certainly more egregious than the “hint or suggestion” of political interference referred to in the Yengeni matter. It is a matter of grave concern that this process has taken place in the new South Africa given the ravages it caused under the Apartheid order.”

There had been a spate of criticism of the South African Judiciary by Zuma supporters ahead of the hearing, among them, a renowned legal mind Paul Ngobeni.

Following the ruling by Judge Chris Nicholson, Thabo Mbeki filed an affidavit and applied to the Constitutional Court to appeal it:

It was improper for the court to make such far-reaching “vexatious, scandalous and prejudicial” findings concerning me, to be judged and condemned on the basis of the findings in the Zuma matter. The interests of justice, in my respectful submission would demand that the matter be rectified. These adverse findings have led to my being recalled by my political party, the ANC – a request I have acceded to as a committed and loyal member of the ANC for the past 52 years. I fear that if not rectified, I might suffer further prejudice.

On September 23, , National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, Tlali Tlali, stated by phone from Pretoria,  “We have received the papers. It’s under consideration.”

On January 12, 2009, the judgement for the appeal was handed down  at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Deputy Judge President Louis Harms had to rule on two aspects of the appeal;

(1st) whether or not Zuma had the right to be invited to make representations to the NPA before they decided to reinstate charges of bribery and corruption against him.

  • Deputy Judge President Louis Harms found that Judge Chris Nicholson’s interpretation of section 179 of the South African Constitution was incorrect in that the National Prosecuting Authority did not have such an obligation and thus was free to have charged Jacob Zuma as it did.

(2nd) whether Judge Nicholson was correct in implying political meddling by the then President Thabo Mbeki with regards to the NPA’s decision to charge Zuma.

  • Deputy Judge President Louis Harms found that the lower court “overstepped the limits of its authority”.

On April 6, 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped all charges against Jacob Zuma as well as those against co-accused French arms company Thint, this was in light of new revelations about serious flaws in the prosecution.

This came after the intercepted phone calls showed that the head of the Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, and the former National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, had conspired over the timing of the charges laid against Jacob Zuma.

Acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) at the time, Mokothedi Mpshe, clarified that the charges were withdrawn due to abuse of power which left the legal process “tainted”, and did not amount to an acquittal.

After stating that they would consider legal action if the charges were dropped, the Democratic Alliance filed for a judicial review of the NPA’s decision, their leader, Helen Zille, claiming that Mokothedi Mpshe had “not taken a decision based in law, but buckled to political pressure”.

The date was set for the case to be heard on June 9, 2009. Jacob Zuma filed his responses sufficiently early. Mokothedi Mpshe delayed the hearing of the matter, requesting two extensions to file the NPA’s response.

Mthunzi Mhaga, the NPA spokesperson, said he could not file papers because there were “outstanding matters” to be resolved. Helen Zille contended that Jacob Zuma’s response was fundamentally wrong and “devoid of any constitutional basis”.



Rape Charges and Trial

In December 2005, Jacob Zuma was charged with raping a 31-year old woman at his home in Forest Town, Gauteng. The alleged victim was from a prominent ANC family, a daughter of a late comrade of Jacob Zuma in the struggle against Apartheid.

The alleged victim was also an AIDS activist and known to be HIV positive.

Jacob Zuma denied the charges and claimed the she had sex with her but it was consensual.

The rape charges against Jacob Zuma presented a special set of difficulties in the face of his political ambitions, they further compounded the trouble he was already in with the corruption charges, perhaps, rape-perceived as a far more serious crime in South Africa due to the government’s failed efforts to fight it off.

This saw the South African Communist Party (SACP) was severely divided over how to address the issue of their (Zuma and the SACP) relationship.

In a hearing prior to the rape trial, a group of thousands of his supporters gathered near the courthouse, as a smaller gathering of anti-rape groups demonstrated on behalf of the alleged rape victim.

The old struggle song,  “Awuleth’Umshini Wami”, became Jacob Zuma’s anthem during the trial, he sang it with his supporters.

Jacob Zuma’s defence team introduced evidence relating to the woman’s sexual past, and asserted that the sex that took place was consensual.

The prosecution asserted that her lack of resistance was due to a state of shock, and that the relationship between the two had always been like that of a ‘father-daughter’ pair.

The trial also generated political controversy when Jacob  Zuma, who at the time headed the National AIDS Council, admitted that he had not used a condom when having sex with the woman who now accuses him of rape, despite knowing that she was HIV-positive.

He stated in court that he took a shower afterwards to “cut the risk of contracting HIV”. This statement was condemned by the judge, health experts, and AIDS activists.

On May 8, 2006, the court found Jacob Zuma not guilty of rape. The court agreed with him that the sexual act in question was consensual.

Judge Willem van der Merwe lambasted the accuser for lying to the court, but also censured Zuma for his recklessness.



Election to ANC Presidency

As per ANC tradition, the deputy president has long succeeded the president. Jacob Zuma was already in line to succeed Thabo Mbeki who was serving out his second and final term.

Thabo-Mbek and Jacob Zuma at the ANC's Polokwane Elective Conference in 2007
Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s Polokwane Elective Conference in 2007

Ahead of the ANC’s Polokwane Elective Conference of 2007, the ANC branches held their nominations conferences in October and November of that year.

Based on the outcome of these conferences, Jacob Zuma appeared to be the firm favourite to take up the position of ANC President after Thabo Mbeki and as a result, become President of South Africa if the ANC win the General Election of that year.

Thabo Mbeki was seeking to be elected ANC President for unprecedented third term. This was not in line with the South African Constitution if he desired to also pursue the third term as the country’s president.

On December 18, 2007 Jacob Zuma was elected ANC President with 2, 329 votes, 824 votes ahead of 1, 505 received by then incumbent Thabo Mbeki.

On December 18, 2012, Jacob Zuma was re-elected to the ANC Presidency at the ANC’s Mangaung Elective Conference defeating then Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.



Return to National Leadership as President of South Africa

Jacob Zuma became the President of South Africa after the ANC won the 2009 General Election on May 6 and he was sworn in as President of South Africa on May 9, 2009.

Obama-ZumaWhen the 2009 General Election came around, a man who would be Jacob Zuma’s predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, was already 8 months out of office.

In September 2008, at the height of Jacob Zuma’s legal battles and in the wake of his election into the ANC Presidency, then South African President and former ANC President Thabo Mbeki found his relationship with the party he once led in complete turmoil.

While his term as ANC President had ended nearly a year earlier, he remained the ANC’s Presidential Appointee until the next General Election, however, with the relationship between him and the party collapsing, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC arrived at the decision that he was no longer fit to govern South Africa.

On September 24, 2008, Thabo Mbeki resigned as the President of South Africa and became the first President of South Africa not to finish his term in office since the fall of the old apartheid regime.

Jacob+Zuma+inauguration+May+24+2014It was expected that the Jacob Zuma led ANC might appoint him as an interim president but instead by appointed his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, would become president until 2009 general elections, after which it was intended that Zuma would become president.

The ANC was victorious at the 5th General Election which took place on May 7, 2014 and on May 21, Jacob Zuma was sworn in as President of South Africa for his second term.



Controversies and Other Remarks

Jacob Zuma has often attracted controversy through his actions, personal conduct, leadership style, interpretation of certain components of society and stance on certain subjects.


  • Rape Trial

During his rape trial, Jacob Zuma claimed that he knew that his accuser was HIV-positive when he had sex with her without using a condom, after the sex he took a shower to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

  • The Media

On June 30, 2006, Jacob Zuma filed a series of defamation lawsuits against various South African media outlets for publishing content that allegedly besmirched his public profile, in the form of cartoons, commentary, photos and parody pieces.

The media outlets were The Star for R 20 million, Rapport for R 10 million, Highveld Stereo for R 6 million, The Citizen for R 5 million, Sunday Sun for R 5 million, Sunday Independent for R 5 million, and Sunday World for R 5 million.

He appointed advocate Jurg Prinsloo, Former Conservative Party MP, as well as Wycliffe Mothuloe to tackle his so-called “crucifixion by the media”

The Spear defaced
The Spear defaced

“For a period of five years my person has been subjected to all kinds of allegations and innuendo, paraded through the media and other corridors of influence without these allegations having being tested. I have thereby been denied my constitutional right to reply and defended myself” Jacob Zuma said.

In 2012, Jacob Zuma was feature in a series of paintings by Brett Murray which criticized him and the ANC. The painting that was of particular interest was The Spear, a painting depicting Jacob Zuma posing like Vladamir Lenin with his (Zuma) genitals exposed.

The ANC’s attempts to stop the gallery from further displaying the painting only exacerbated the situation, the picture of the painting spread through the internet uncontrollably.

On May 22, while e.tv was filming at the gallery, two men vandalized the painting.


  • Same-sex Marriage

On September 24, 2006, during the Heritage Day celebrations in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, Jacob Zuma criticized same-sex marriage. He said that same-sex marriage was “a disgrace to the nation and to God”, “When I was growing up, ungqingili (a homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out.”

The Joint Working Group (an LGBT advocacy coalition) questioned Zuma’s leadership skills and stated that a “true leader leads with intellect and wisdom – not popularity or favour. How can a narrow-minded person like this be expected to lead our nation?”

In the wake of the harsh criticism he drew following his remarks, Jacob Zuma apologized stating, “I also respect, acknowledge and applaud the sterling contribution of many gay and lesbian compatriots in the struggle that brought about our freedom, and the role they continue to play in the building of a successful non-racial, non-discriminatory South Africa.”


  • Teenage Pregnancy

Jacob Zuma suggested that teenage mothers should have their babies confiscated, be taken to colleges and “forced” to obtain degrees and also ensure that the condoms are available in diverse institutions.


  • Western Sahara

Jacob Zuma drew criticism from Morocco’s ambassador to South Africa, Habib Defouad, for the support of the independence of Western Sahara in June 2007. Since the 1970s, the ANC has supported the Sahrawi independence movement Front Polisario, under both Nelson Mandela and  Thabo Mbeki.

In 2004 South Africa recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or SADR, as a legitimate government-in-exile.


  • Second Coming

Jacob Zuma claimed that the ANC would rule South Africa until the return of Jesus Christ and its continued governance was just what God wanted.


  • Afrikaners

Addressing the Afrikaans Community at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, Jacob Zuma said, “Of all the white groups that are in South Africa, it is only the Afrikaners that are truly South Africans in the true sense of the word. Up to this day, they don’t carry two passports; they carry one. They are here to stay”.


  • Schabir Shaik’s Parole

In March 2009, Schabir Shaik was released from prison on medical parole just 28 months into his 15 year sentence. Medical Parole is a leniency meant only for the terminally ill, despite the opinion of his doctors that he was fighting fit and free for hospital discharge.

Shaik’s release from prison came after there was already speculation that his release would be Zuma’s priority. The spokesperson of the ANC President vehemently denied this.


  • Love Child of 2009

In January 2010, The Sunday Times reported that Sonono Khoza, the daughter of Irvin Khoza chairman of Orlando Pirates FC and the Premier Soccer League, gave birth to Zuma’s 20th child on 8 October 2009, a daughter called Thandekile Matina Zuma.

On February 3, Jacob Zuma confirmed that the child was his, he went on to state that he had paid Inhlawulo (damages paid for having a child out of wedlock). He protested the publishing of the child’s name, saying it was illegal exploitation of the child. He denied that the incident had relevance to the government’s AIDS programme, and appealed for privacy.

On February 6, Jacob Zuma said he “deeply regretted the pain that he caused to his family, the ANC, the alliance and South Africans in general.”

The Presidency’s comment was that it was a private matter.

The ANC defended Zuma, saying it saw no links between its policies on HIV/AIDS and Mr Zuma’s personal life.

Julius Malema, ANCYL president at the time, said “We are Africans and sitting here all of us, Zuma is our father so we are not qualified to talk about that”. Malema said the ANCYL would emphasize its HIV programme and “one boyfriend, one girlfriend” stance in an awareness campaign across the country.

ANC Women’s League deputy president Nosipho Dorothy Ntwanambi said: “it is not right to have an extramarital affair if you have committed to yourself to a marriage. But under the Customary Marriages Act, if the first wife agrees, and if all these issues are discussed with her, we can’t do anything”.

The ANC later acknowledged the widespread disapproval by saying that the experience had “taught us many valuable lessons”, and they had listened to the people.

COSATU, an ANC alliance partner, passed no judgment but hoped that it will be “a matter on Zuma’s conscience” Zwelinzima Vavi reiterated Zuma’s appeal then that he be accorded his “right to privacy” and the child protected from undue publicity.

Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance said Zuma contradicted his public message of safe sex to South Africans, among the worst sufferers of AIDS. She said it was wrong to say it was purely a private matter, and elected public officials had to embody the principles and values for which they stand

The African Christian Democratic Party said Zuma was undermining the government’s drive to persuade people to practise safe sex to combat HIV and AIDS.

The Congress of the People (COPE) said Zuma could no longer use African cultural practices to justify his “promiscuity”.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, said Zuma was asking people “to do as I say and not as I do”


  • Chief Justice Nomination

In August 2009, Jacob Zuma nominated Sandile Ngcobo as Chief Justice of South Africa. On October 1, 2009, the appointment was confirmed.

The Democratic Alliance, the Congress of the People, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Independent Democrats accused Zuma of failing to consult properly ahead of his nomination of Sandile Ngcobo.

The opposition urged Zuma to restart the process from scratch saying they would prefer current Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke for the post.


  • Failure to Disclose Assets

Jacob Zuma was required to declare his financial interests within 60 days of taking office as President of South Africa. By March 2010, he had failed to do so, nine months since coming into office.

This led to calls for him to do so by opposition parties, and ANC alliance partner COSATU.

Brian Sokutu, an ANC spokesman, stated that Jacob Zuma constituted a “special case”, because of his “large family” making it difficult to declare his assets. The ANC later distanced itself from this statement.

Jacob Zuma disclosed his interests shortly after.


  • Zimbabwe

The ANC has always viewed Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF as an ally. Zanu-PF was founded for the same purposes as the ANC, to fight white  oppression. Former president Thabo Mbeki has never publicly criticized Mugabe and his policies despite the tripartite alliance partners (SACP and COSATU) and the ANC Youth League (prior to that of Julius Malema) have advocated for a tougher stance on Zimbabwe.

In 2006, in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, he expressed more sympathetic sentiments towards Mugabe, saying that “Europeans often ignore the fact that Mugabe is very popular among Africans. In their eyes, he has given blacks their country back after centuries of colonialism.” He continued: “The people love him, so how can we condemn him? Many in Africa believe that there is a racist aspect to European and American criticism of Mugabe. Millions of blacks died in Angola, the Republic of Congo and Rwanda. A few whites lost their lives in Zimbabwe, unfortunately, and already the West is bent out of shape.”

Jacob Zuma’s stance on Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe has since deviated from that of the two previous South African Presidents.

In 2007, Jacob Zuma’s criticism of Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe had become more straight forward. This was also interpreted as Zuma setting himself, his approach to leadership and policies apart from those of, or that of Thabo Mbeki;

“It is even more tragic that other world leaders who witness repression pretend it s not happening, or is exaggerated. When history eventually deals with dictators those who stood by and watched should also bear the consequences. A shameful quality of the modern world is to turns away from injustice and ignore the hardships of others”.

Jacob Zuma accused Thabo Mbeki of being lenient to dictators.

On March 29, 2008 in the wake of the disputed election results in Zimbabwe, Zuma criticized the process in that country, referring to the delayed outcome as as “suspicious”.

On June 24, Zuma stated in a press conference “We cannot agree with ZANU-PF. We cannot agree with them on values. We fought for the right of people to vote, we fought for democracy.”

In July, at an ANC dinner, Jacob Zuma expressed his criticism and disapproval of Robert Mugabe’s refusal to step down.


  • Relationship with Julius Malema

In 2008, Julius Malema at a youth rally in Free State asserted, “We are prepared to die for Zuma,” and added “We are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma”. Such statements set the tone for the relationship that lasted four years.

Julius_Malema_Jacob_ZumaAt one point, Jacob Zuma called Julius Malema a future president but most of those four years were spent reining him in, putting out his fires and cleaning up after him.

Julius Malema’s behavior had come so far out of control that the media and the general public speculated that he had some kind of a hold over the ANC heavyweights.

It was all well and good when Julius Malema attacked, criticized and rebuked others, making racist remarks against other leaders and poking fun at Zuma’s opponents.

The relationship turned soured when the ANC made efforts bring him under control and publicly criticized him. Julius Malema criticized the ANC and it’s leadership claiming that Zuma was a dictator.

Perhaps his unfavorably comparing of Zuma to Thabo Mbeki was the final straw, by late 2011, the ANC had initiated the review of Malema’s earlier disciplinary action, that review resulted in a long suspension and when Malema appealed, he got expelled.

Julius Malema has since dedicated his political career to criticizing Jacob Zuma and the ANC leadership, he went on to apologize to Jacob Zuma’s political opponents which he offended while he enjoyed a cosy relationship with him and the ANC. He also apologized to Epainette Mbeki, the mother of former President Thabo Mbeki, for the way he treated, and how he was removed from office.

In June 2014, Jacob Zuma had reportedly took time off after a gruelling election campaign, subsequent reports and speculations emerged that Zuma may be sick and not tired, at which point Julius Malema said “Zuma is not sick, he is a troubled man. We do not wish him well, we wish him long suffering”.


  • Alleged Bullies for Bodyguards

In February 2010, a Cape Town student, Chumani Maxwele was detained by police after allegedly showing Zuma’s motorcade a “rude gesture” (supposedly a middle finger).

Chumani Maxwele, an active ANC member, was released after 24 hours, having provided a written apology to police, which he later claimed was coerced.

He also claimed that his home had been raided by plain clothes policemen, and that he had been forced into the vehicle at gunpoint. Maxwele later instituted legal action against the police, and a complaint was filed on his behalf to the Human Rights Commission. The incident led to a heated dispute when it was discussed in Parliament.

In March, journalist Tshepo Lesole was forced to delete pictures of Zuma’s convoy from his camera by police, and two photographers were detained by police when photographing Zuma’s Johannesburg home.

Sky News reporter Emma Hurd claimed she had been pushed, manhandled and “groped” by Zuma’s bodyguards in 2009.


  • Shoot the Boer Song

In April 2010, Jacob Zuma spoke out against Julius Malema for singing the “shoot the boer” song in the wake of Eugène Terre’Blanche’s murder.

In January 2012, Jacob Zuma gave a speech at the ANC Centennial 2012 celebrations in Bloemfontein, South Africa and afterwards sang the song “Dubul’ ibhunu” (“Shoot the Boer”).


  • Failure to Understand Democracy

In September 2012, Jacob Zuma told the National Assembly of South Africa that minority groups have fewer rights than the majority.

He stated that “You have more rights because you’re a majority; you have less rights because you’re a minority. That’s how democracy works,” provoking an outcry from opposition benches.


  • Upgrades to Nkandla Homestead and Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre

In October 2012, the public prosecutor announced separate investigations into the financial circumstances of upgrades to Zuma’s residence at Nkandla, as well as the development of a nearby town,  Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre dubbed “Zumaville”, estimated to be a R2 billion investment, and road upgrades from dirt to tar.

jacob_zuma_nkandla_homeIn November 2012 Jacob Zuma answered in parliament that he was unaware of the scale of the work, but agreed to two investigations, one to probe its rising costs, and another to determine any breaches of parliamentary spending rules.

The upgrade to Jacob Zuma’s private residence were probed by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and they were the subject of the Nkandla Report title by her office, Secure in Comfort.

In May 2014 Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre was also reported to be the latest spending of state funds involving Jacob Zuma that will be probed by the public protector.


  • The Gupta Wedding and the Waterkloof Air Force Base Landing

In 2013, known friends of Jacob Zuma, the Guptas landed their chartered jet at Waterkloof Air Force Base. The media quickly got hold of the story, by the of the story was everywhere and the suspicion was already directed at President Jacob Zuma.

Gupta Jet AirwaysAfter the Guptas landed, the were escorted to Sun City, where the wedding was going to take place, by the VIP Protection Police Unit which was later identified as fake police cars fitted with blue and red lights.

Jacob Zuma denied any prior knowledge of the Guptas landing at Waterkloof Air Force Base, a national key point, this however, did not deter the media from leveling accusations against him.

An investigation into the circumstances that lead to the Gupta their chartered jet landing at the national key point without the knowledge of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was launched.

A report titled, Landing of a Commercial aircraft at Air Force Base Waterkloof, was released. The report revealed that the Guptas had attempted to organize a special landing at OR Tambo International Airport but were turned down.

They then approached the Indian High Commission who re-designated the wedding entourage as an official delegation to secure a landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Justice Minister at the time, Jeff Radebe said at a press briefing “The investigating team has conclusively found that in February 2013 the Gupta family approached the Airports Company South Africa and requested landing rights and an elaborate reception for the wedding party.”

In the aftermath, the wedding was marred by negative reporting, allegations of racism and bad treatment of the hotel staff at Sun City as well as the bitter taste of Waterkloof Air Force Base landing dubbed by the media “Gupta Gate”.


  • Helen Zille’s Dissatisfaction with the Class of 2013 Matric Results

In January 2014, following the positive outcome of Matric results of the class of 2013, Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance was not satisfied and perhaps suspicious and suggested that the results be probed. Jacob Zuma reportedly accused her of having “that old mentality that black people are not intelligent, if they succeed it must be probed.”



Enduring Support

Despite the perpetual negative portrayal and the depiction of a country in turmoil and at war with itself, Jacob Zuma’s support among ordinary South Africans seem to have endured.

Since the days of the corruption and rape trial where hundreds, perhaps thousands lined the street to show support to the man, at the time, who would be president.

In 2012, when the spear painting was tearing the nation apart, it became clear once again just how much support Jacob Zuma enjoyed. Later that year he overwhelming defeated challenger and then Deputy President of South Africa and the ANC Kgalema Motlanthe to earn second term as ANC President.

In 2014 General Election, the ANC secured 62.15% of the vote, this further attesting to the support Jacob Zuma continues to enjoy in South African politics.



Teflon President

Jacob Zuma’s ability to survive scandal after scandal, controversy after controversy saw him, in the run up and after the 2014 General Election being referred to by the South African media as “our own Teflon president”.

On January 26, 2014, it was reported that at least 4 of 11 ANC regional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal had confirmed the existence of a “resolution” taken to approach Zuma to ask him not to run for a second term as the country’s president. The resolution had reportedly gained momentum in November, 2013 when the ANC was preparing for the national list conference, however, it “lost traction” after the death of Nelson Mandela.

Since being nominated by parliament to lead South Africa in 2009, there has been calls for impeachment, recall, resignation, etc and none of it ever came to fruition.

On May 7, 2014, Jacob Zuma successfully led the ANC to power and on May 21, he was sworn in, confirming that the battles of the past five years in office had not dented his popularity, or at least were not enough to put at risk the ANC’s position in South African politics.



Personal Life and Family

Jacob Zuma is reportedly a non-smoker and non-drinker of alcoholic beverages (teetotaller). He is also a polygamist, he has been married 6 times, divorced from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1998 and Kate Mantsho committed suicide on December 8, 2000.

  • Wives
  1. Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo (1973 – to date) . She lives at his home at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. They have no children.
  2. Kate Mantsho (1976 – 2000, her death) she had five children with Jacob Zuma.
  3. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (1982 – 1998, divorced)  she has four children Zuma.
  4. Nompumelelo Ntuli (2008 – to date), she has three children with Zuma.
  5. Thobeka Stacie Madiba (2010 – to date) she has two children with Zuma.
  6. Gloria Bongekile Ngema (2012 – to date) she has one child with Zuma.
  • fiancé

Jacob Zuma reportedly paid lobola for Swazi Princess Sebentile Dlamini in 2003.

  • Other Known Children

Jacob Zuma has a son named Edward with Minah Shongwe, sister of Judge Jeremiah Shongwe, who asked to be recused from Zuma’s rape trial because of the liaison.

He has two daughters, born January 18, 1998 and September 19, 2002, with Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Priscilla Nonkwaleko Mhlongo.

  • Health Issues

In June 2014, shortly after President Jacob Zuma announced his cabinet and got sworn in for his second term as President of South Africa, Mac Maharaj, the spokesperson to the presidency told the South African Press Association (SAPA) “He was admitted to a hospital here in Pretoria,” he added “We prefer not to disclose the name of the hospital for privacy reasons.”

Mac Maharaj to SAPA that the president had been advised to rest following a demanding election and transition programme to the new administration.

The news led to speculation about President Jacob Zuma’s health, those speculation were dismissed by the African National Congress. Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General told reporters at the party’s lekgotla that Zuma was exhausted.

Jacob Zuma was discharged from hospital shortly after, the doctors were reportedly happy with the results and he was ordered to rest at home for a few days. He later returned to active duty during the State of the Nation Address.

In July 2014, Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance said in an interview “I think Jacob Zuma won’t stand again in 2017. If he does stand I think he will be contested at the elective conference of 2017,” she continued “there might be a strategy to enable him to bow out now for health reasons and enable Ramaphosa to take over before 2017, to consolidate a base from which he then stands for election at the conference.” Further adding to the speculation that President Jacob Zuma may be facing health problems.