With South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) choosing a new leader to succeed Jacob Zuma, many are concerned if Zuma had kept the leadership flames of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the party’s first Presidential candidate and South Africa’s first black President.
President Zuma is arguably the most controversial African President, his strength in adversity may be one of the reasons he had held onto power this long despite numerous calls for resignation and attempts to oust him as the party’s leader.
Zuma’s many controversies
- In 2005, the President faced some corruption charges over 1999 multibillion-dollar arms deal, though charges were dropped before his presidency in 2009, there are speculations that the charges may resurface under a new government.
- About the same time, Zuma also faced rape charges from Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo aka Khwezi, an AIDS activist, while he was ANC’s Vice President. He was later acquitted in 2006.
- In 2016, Zuma was charged with 786 counts of corruption over the deal mentioned earlier, a charge which he appealed.
- In the same year, a court ruled that he breached his oath of office by using public funds to upgrade his home in Nkandla. He refunded the money used.
- In 2017, there was an inquiry into allegations of Zuma giving undue privileges to the Guptas, as well as profiting from the family’s wealth.
- There have been 8 votes of no-confidence since his rule, with Zuma surviving all.
- Zuma’s rule has recorded remarkable increase in the life expectancy rate, attributable to his provision of antiretroviral medications for HIV/AIDS infected individuals.
- The educational sector has also witnessed an improvement in accessibility, with the government’s Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
- There has also been improved power and water supply for South Africans under his rule
- The rate of tourism has improved significantly since he became President.
- He has also impacted positively on the local science and technology sector.
Fingers are crossed awaiting Zuma’s successor, recall his words about the great Mandela;
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him, what we seek in ourselves.”