Jacob Zuma, South Africa's 'Teflon President,' is finally out

South African ...

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 7:43 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 7:43 AM

South African President Jacob Zuma's resignation Wednesday marks a dramatic end to a political reign that was mired in scandal and tainted by a worsening economy.

Until this week, the wily Zuma, 75, who never had much of a formal education, managed to outsmart his political opponents both inside the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and outside it.

During the years of struggle against apartheid that finally ended in 1991, Zuma was the head of the party's intelligence wing. The skills he gained during that time helped carry him to power in the country's new democratic era, but he has been dogged by criminal investigations for decades.

Even in his last days in office, Zuma remained the political survivor that he has always been. Refusing to resign when pressured by the ANC's top six leaders, he then bought time by negotiating directly with Cyril Ramaphosa, his presumed successor and leader of the party.

In the end, though, it was the ANC itself that had had enough, recalling Zuma from his position Tuesday following a marathon meeting of the party's executive committee, and urging the President to quit.

Anti-apartheid hero

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

Arrested by the apartheid government in 1963, he was sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island, the windswept penal colony that also then housed the country's first black president, Nelson Mandela.

After his release, Zuma played a major role in organizing the liberation movement from exile in Mozambique and later Zambia. He took on key government positions after the transition to democracy.

Charges of corruption

It was in those heady early days of the new South Africa that Zuma became embroiled in what would be the first of many scandals.

His financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption relating to a large-scale arms deal in the late 1990s -- placing Zuma under increasing political and legal pressure.

In 2004, then-President Thabo Mbeki fired Zuma as deputy president and he was charged with corruption.

After many years of unresolved legal battles, Zuma still faces 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering.

He denies all of them, and has become known as the "Teflon President" because few politicians could have survived the scandals he has faced and weathered -- until now.

Accusations of improprieties that dogged his presidency were not just of a financial nature.

In 2005, Zuma, who has several wives and more than 20 children, was charged with raping a 31-year-old HIV-positive woman in his home. The ensuing trial and media circus led many to believe that Zuma's political career was over.

He incited widespread ridicule in South Africa for saying he knew the alleged victim was HIV-positive, but did not fear contracting the illness because he took a shower after the sex. But in 2006, a court believed his account that the sex was consensual, and Zuma was acquitted of rape.

When he was still Deputy President, Zuma helped orchestrate a putsch against then-President Mbeki. At the end of 2007, he beat Mbeki to become the ANC leader. Zuma became President following elections in 2009, and was re-elected in 2014.

Scandal: Zuma's main legacy

Before the global financial meltdown, Zuma presided over an ebullient South African economy and wildly successful soccer World Cup in 2010. He has been praised by many for reversing Mbeki's AIDS denialism and leading a massive rollout of life-saving antiretroviral drugs.

He also helped shepherd South Africa through the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela.

But the passing of Mandela in 2013 perhaps drew out the deep flaws of the country's current President, and it is scandal that will be the main legacy of Zuma.

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 in Nkandla, and ordered him to repay some of the money. He still also faces the hundreds of allegations of corruption relating to the 1990s arms deal.

Zuma still denies the corruption allegations against him. And despite street protests, opposition maneuvering, and defections from his own party, he refused to step down.

For a politician always skilled at working behind the scenes and in the trenches, it was his own party leaders who finally turned their backs on him, and pushed him out of the presidency.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 39133

Reported Deaths: 1514
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12597787
Ramsey4963229
Dakota242192
Stearns241419
Anoka2266109
Nobles16726
Olmsted114715
Washington113740
Mower9602
Rice8488
Scott7624
Clay59138
Kandiyohi5781
Blue Earth4942
Wright4835
Todd4012
Carver3951
Lyon3272
Sherburne3255
Freeborn2970
Watonwan2380
Steele2371
Benton2203
St. Louis19615
Nicollet17312
Martin1715
Cottonwood1360
Goodhue1318
Winona12915
Crow Wing10812
Le Sueur1081
Pine1070
Chisago1021
Otter Tail1001
McLeod920
Dodge880
Carlton870
Unassigned8537
Polk822
Chippewa791
Isanti750
Waseca710
Douglas650
Murray650
Itasca6412
Meeker611
Morrison611
Faribault600
Pipestone592
Becker570
Jackson550
Sibley542
Pennington520
Renville362
Beltrami340
Brown342
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha330
Rock310
Fillmore300
Yellow Medicine300
Houston270
Swift221
Wilkin213
Norman200
Redwood190
Koochiching181
Grant170
Roseau170
Cass162
Aitkin150
Big Stone150
Kanabec151
Wadena150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln100
Mahnomen101
Clearwater90
Hubbard80
Lake60
Stevens50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32064

Reported Deaths: 731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6739181
Woodbury326044
Black Hawk232358
Buena Vista171911
Johnson13408
Linn130482
Dallas129129
Marshall106019
Scott84510
Story8063
Pottawattamie74512
Dubuque74222
Wapello70830
Crawford6783
Muscatine64944
Sioux4810
Tama46829
Wright3851
Louisa36313
Jasper32517
Plymouth3245
Warren2911
Dickinson2663
Webster2484
Washington2459
Cerro Gordo1901
Hamilton1891
Boone1501
Clay1370
Allamakee1334
Clarke1333
Mahaska11717
Shelby1170
Clinton1131
Poweshiek1078
Carroll991
Pocahontas981
Bremer957
Franklin950
Des Moines912
Emmet870
Henry863
Cedar851
Hardin810
Taylor800
Monona770
Cherokee761
Floyd732
Marion710
Benton681
Guthrie684
Jones640
Sac640
Jefferson620
Osceola620
Buchanan601
Butler592
Hancock551
Humboldt551
Calhoun542
Harrison540
Lee542
Iowa530
Delaware511
Monroe517
Fayette500
Madison482
Lyon450
Clayton443
Davis411
Mitchell410
Palo Alto410
Grundy400
Mills390
Winneshiek390
Kossuth360
Howard340
Jackson340
Union340
Lucas314
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Winnebago290
Cass240
Ida230
Appanoose213
Keokuk211
Van Buren210
Page200
Worth200
Adair160
Audubon161
Unassigned160
Ringgold150
Decatur120
Montgomery102
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont80
Rochester
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 86°
Mason City
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 86°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 90°
Austin
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 91°
Charles City
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 89°
Heat Advisory in effect until 7pm
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's 6pm Weather 7/8

Image

Bishop writes to ask for clemency for Dustin Honken

Image

Catch a ride to stay cool

Image

Free masks in Rochester

Image

Boys & Girls Club back open

Image

Rochester Elementary School releases plans

Image

Working in the heat

Image

Potential job cuts for Austin city employees

Image

Free memory screenings being offered during pandemic

Image

1K Mile March: Alabama to Minneapolis

Community Events