News / Africa

South African President Zuma Unscathed by Scandals

FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma addresses the media after unveiling a bronze statue of the late former President Nelson Mandela as part of the Day of Reconciliation Celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 16, 2013.
FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma addresses the media after unveiling a bronze statue of the late former President Nelson Mandela as part of the Day of Reconciliation Celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 16, 2013.
South African President Jacob Zuma has been described by many as the luckiest head of state. Throughout his career, Zuma has been able to escape serious scandals, including rape charges, corruption charges and now misuse of state funds for developments at his private home.

Popularly known for his singing and dancing talent, Zuma’s art of escaping serious scandals have left many people dumbfounded.

In 2005, then Vice President Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and corruption charges related to a government arms deal. Though Zuma was implicated and investigated in connection with Shaik’s charges, he survived.

In 2006, Zuma was tried at the High court for allegedly raping an HIV positive family friend.  He was however acquitted after convincing the court that the two had consensual sex.

In the following year he was elected president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
 
In 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority finally dropped hundreds of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion charges against Mr. Zuma citing evidence of political manipulation of his case.

This cleared the way for him to be elected president in May, 2009.

In 2013, the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family with close ties to President Zuma, landed a private plane full of wedding guests at an air force base. But a ministerial task force found that the president did not influence the landing.

Currently, Zuma is accused of using nearly $19 million of public funds for developments at his private rural home at Inkandla. The matter is still pending, yet his second term in office is almost guaranteed after the May 7 elections.  

Susan Booysen, political analyst and senior lecturer at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, said Zuma’s ability to escape scandals has baffled everyone. "President Zuma has had an amazing act of escaping charges, from years ago hundreds of charges relating to South Africa’s infamous arms deal to personal charges about sexual behavior. Yet each time he has escaped it,” she said.

Stephen Grootes, political reporter at Eye Witness News, argues that having a tight grip on state security organs might have helped President Zuma to survive this long.

“He has tight control over the Justice Department, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Intelligence Services and there has always been a suspicion that he is so interested in those parts of government because he is worried the charges that were withdrawn against him could be lodged against him again, in other words he could still face a trial,” said Grootes.

Prince Mashele, executive director at the Center for Politics and Research, a think tank and research institute, said Zuma has strategically made the survival of those around him, dependent on him, hence their reluctance to act against him.

“There is a great deal of loyalty towards the ANC, So people will be voting for the ANC even though they don’t like Zuma. But Zuma will benefit from that," said Mashele. "Secondly, a majority of them by the way, they know that if Zuma were to go down, they will also go down, so they will protect Zuma. By protecting Zuma they are protecting themselves.”

Booysen said, however, President Zuma’s scandals are hurting his party in a big way.

“The ANC is losing much credibility which in due course will be reflected in the electoral support as well,” he said.

With the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), still pushing for the reinstatement of corruption charges against President Zuma, Grootes said the charges will certainly catch up with him someday. “I think that they will certainly hang around him until he has his day in court which he said so many times he wanted and yet he has tried not to have," he stated.

Many agree that when he is gone, President Zuma will always be remembered as a giant who survived scandals that brought all others down.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ANTI ZUMA from: TOO
April 23, 2014 10:30 AM
This guy is too "clever" to allow his conscience, if he do got something like that, to bother him. I actually mean he is far to stupid, all he got in mind is to enrich himself, not considering the people that voted for him.

by: Boer007 from: South Africa
April 23, 2014 10:29 AM
South Africa is far more racially divided today than in 1994. Therefore black people will rather vote for a black criminal than voting for somebody that can provide a real alternative of good governance. Look at the Western Cape currently governed by the opposition Democratic Alliance. Cape Town looks like a 1st world city compared to the horrible chaos all over the ANC run cities. What a shame blacks cannot shake off their racial prejudice.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs