Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

Zuma, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa, 1942-, South African political leader, b. Indkandla, Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) prov. Zuma received no formal schooling and joined the African National Congress (ANC) when he was 17, becoming active in the party's military wing in 1962. Convicted of conspiring to overthrow the country's government, he served 10 years in prison (1963-73), then went into exile. Zuma became a member of the ANC's executive committee (1977-1984) and returned to South Africa when the ban against the party was lifted in 1990. A Zulu, he mediated between the ANC and the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom party during violent clashes among supporters of the two groups in the early 1990s.

Zuma served as deputy president of South Africa (1999-2005), but was dismissed by President Thabo Mbeki when he was implicated in a corruption case. He subsequently was charged with rape (and acquitted) and graft (the case was dismissed for technical reasons). With the support of left-leaning trade unions and poorer black South Africans, Zuma defeated Mbeki for the chairmanship of the ANC in 2007.

In 2007 prosecutors again indicted him on corruption charges. The charges were set aside in 2008 for procedural reasons, but that decision was overturned on appeal in 2009; later in 2009 the government dropped the charges, saying that the second indictment had been politically motivated. In May, 2009, he was elected president of South Africa, succeeding Kgalema Motlanthe. In Nov., 2009, the regional Southern African Development Community named Zuma as mediator between the parties in the unity government in Zimbabwe.

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (born 12 April 1942) is a South African politician. He is the President of the African National Congress (ANC), the governing political party, and was Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 to 2005. Zuma is also referred to by his initials JZ and his clan name Msholozi.

As probably the most prominent Zulu ANC politician and a leader for leftist constituencies within the ANC, he has rallied the support of many even after his dismissal from the government in 2005 due to allegations of corruption. He remained popular, especially amongst Zulus and the youth league of the ANC and they argue that Zuma has served the struggle well. Though his political future appeared more clouded during his rape trial, his most vocal supporters stayed faithful, gathering outside the courthouse to demonstrate their support for him during his trial.

Zuma became the President of the ANC on 18 December 2007 after defeating incumbent Thabo Mbeki at the ANC conference in Polokwane.

Biography

Early years

Zuma was born in Nkandla, in what is now the KwaZulu-Natal Province. His clan name is Zuma and is affectionately known by his praisename Msholozi. He did not receive any formal schooling after primary but is self taught. He only attended school up to standard 3 (now called grade 5). He spent his childhood moving between Zululand and the suburbs of Durban in the area of Umkhumbane (near Chesterville). His father was a policeman who died when Zuma was still a young boy.

Zuma involved himself in politics at an early age and joined the African National Congress in 1959. He became an active member of Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1962, following the banning of the ANC in 1960.

Imprisonment and ban

In 1963, he was arrested with a group of 45 recruits near Zeerust in the western Transvaal, currently part of the North West Province. Convicted of conspiring to overthrow the government, he was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, which he served on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and other notable ANC leaders who were also imprisoned there.

After his release, he was instrumental in the re-establishment of ANC underground structures in the Natal province.

He left South Africa in 1975, based first in Swaziland and then Mozambique, and dealt with the arrival of thousands of exiles in the wake of the Soweto uprising.

He became a member of the ANC National Executive Committee in 1977. He also served as Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC in Mozambique, a post he occupied until the signing of the Nkomati Accord between the Mozambican and South African governments in 1984. After signing the Accord, he was appointed as Chief Representative of the ANC.

Zuma was forced to leave Mozambique in January 1987 after considerable pressure on the Mozambican government by the PW Botha regime. He moved to the ANC Head Office in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was appointed Head of Underground Structures and shortly thereafter Chief of the Intelligence Department.

He served on the ANC's political and military council when it was formed in the mid-1980s.

Return from exile

Following the end of the ban on the ANC in February 1990, he was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin the process of negotiations.

In 1990, he was elected Chairperson of the ANC for the Southern Natal region, and took a leading role in fighting political violence in the region between members of the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). He was elected the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC the next year, and in January 1994 he was nominated as the ANC candidate for the Premiership of KwaZulu Natal.

The IFP, led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, put particular emphasis on Zulu pride and political power during this period. In this context, Zuma's Zulu heritage made his role especially important in the ANC's efforts to end the violence, to emphasize the political (rather than tribal) roots of the violence, and to win the support of Zulu people in the region.

Rise to national leadership

Zuma is not new to national leadership, in fact he started serving in the National Executive committee of the ANC as far back as 1977 when it was still a liberation movement as such by the time he became its president he had served there for 30 solid years. After the 1994 general election, with the ANC becoming a governing party but having lost KZN province to the IFP, he was appointed as Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Economic Affairs and Tourism for the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, after stepping aside to allow Thabo Mbeki to run unopposed for deputy presidency. In December 1994, he was elected National Chairperson of the ANC and chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, and was re-elected to the latter position in 1996. He was elected Deputy President of the ANC at the National Conference held at Mafikeng in December 1997 and consequently appointed executive Deputy President of South Africa in June 1999, and was widely believed to be heir apparent to the presidency after Thabo Mbeki steps down.

In June 1998, he divorced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is currently the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

During this time, he also worked in Kampala, Uganda, as facilitator of the Burundi peace process, along with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Museveni chairs 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 had assassinated the first president elected from the Hutu majority.

President Thabo Mbeki relieved Zuma of his duties as Deputy President on 14 June 2005 due to corruption charges against him.

Candidature for ANC President

In terms of party tradition, as the deputy president of the ANC he was already in line to succeed Mbeki. The party structures held their nominations conferences in October and November 2007, where Zuma appeared favourite for the post of ANC President, and, by implication, the President of South Africa in 2009. .

He was chosen as the ANC Party President on the 18 December 2007 with 2329 votes, beating the second-term ANC and South African president Thabo Mbeki's 1505 votes. This makes Zuma the clear favorite in the upcoming elections to become the next President of South Africa, since Mbeki is constitutionally unable to run again, and the ANC is by far the country's largest party.

On 28 December 2007, the Scorpions served Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud, according to Michael Hulley, Zuma's attorney. The trial was to proceed on 4 August 2008, however, it was postponed due to Zuma having brought a High Court application to have the charges against him declared unlawful on a technicality (which had nothing to do with his innocence or guilt). He succeeded in this application (see below). The technicality was something which could easily have been remedied by the prosecuting authorities. The charges are linked to the $5bn arms procurement deal by the South African government in 1999.

Political-economic orientation

Zuma is an economic populist, who has occasionally described himself as "socialist." He has received support from trade unions and from the South African Communist Party. He also received support from women's and youth leagues of the African National Congress.

Zuma's criticisms of Mbeki

Zuma has criticized Mbeki, accusing him of being lenient on dictators.

Analysis of his orientation

The Guardian (UK) has said that Zuma has tried "to reassure foreign investors their interests will be protected." According to The Guardian and The New York Times, he has spoken of redistribution of wealth, and he has allied himself with socialists and communists that seek to redistribute wealth to the poor.

Criminal charges

Corruption charges

Zuma became embroiled in a corruption related controversy after his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption and fraud, leading to Zuma's dismissal (by Thabo Mbeki) as deputy president of South Africa in June 2005. In the aftermath of the Shaik trial Zuma was formally charged with corruption by the National Prosecuting Authority. The case was struck from the roll of the Pietermaritzburg High Court after the prosecution's application for a postponement (petitioned in order to allow the NPA to secure admissible forms of documentation required as evidence) was dismissed. In dismissing the application for postponement the Court rendered moot the defence's application for a permanent stay of proceedings which would prevent Zuma from being criminally prosecuted.

Bulelani Ngcuka, the national director of Public Prosecutions at the time, investigated both Zuma and the Chief Whip of the ANC, Tony Yengeni, after allegations of abuse of power were leveled against them. This concerned improper influence in the controversial arms deal, and the question of financial benefit as a result of such influence. While Yengeni was found guilty, the case was dropped against Zuma, with Ngcuka stating "…that there was prima facie evidence of corruption, but insufficient to win the case in court", Ngcuka moved to private practice after criticism from the ANC over this incident.

In 2004, Zuma became a key figure mentioned in the Schabir Shaik trial. Schabir Shaik, a Durban businessman and his financial advisor, was questioned over bribery in the course of the purchase of Valour class frigates for the South African Navy, a proposed waterfront development in Durban, and lavish spending on Zuma's residence in Nkandla. On 2 June 2005, Shaik was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison, with Judge Hilary Squires describing the relationship between Zuma and Shaik as "mutually beneficial symbiosis". The media mis-reported this as "A generally corrupt relationship", although this description does not appear in the court transcripts.

After twelve days of intense media speculation about his future, President Thabo Mbeki relieved Zuma of his duties as deputy president on 14 June 2005. Mbeki told a joint sitting of parliament that "in the interest of the honourable Deputy President, the government, our young democratic system and our country, it would be best to release the honourable Jacob Zuma from his responsibilities as Deputy President of the republic and member of the cabinet." Zuma then resigned as a Member of Parliament.

Zuma's legal team continued to delay proceedings and in spite of Zuma's claim that he desired the matter appear in court succeeded in making critical evidence unavailable to the court resulting in the prosecution making an application for postponement on the set date. As the prosecution was not ready the case was struck from the roll after the prosecution's application for a postponement was dismissed, however Zuma's legal team has been unsuccessful in its attempts to have the courts grant a permanent stay of proceedings (which would render Zuma immune to prosecution on the charges). The current situation suggests that Zuma will be recharged with corruption pertaining to this case, as soon as the NPA has completed preparing its case. Coupled with the fact that Schabir Shaik was found guilty of corruption and begun his sentence from 7 November 2006, the prosecution's case against Zuma appears to have gained a little more footing.

On 8 November 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 by the and rejected four appeals made by Zuma's defence team. This ruling pertained to the National Prosecuting Authority obtaining the personal diary of senior member of a French arms company, which may have provided information relating to Zuma's possible corrupt practices during the awarding of an arms deal.

On 28 December 2007, the Scorpions served Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud. Zuma appeared in court on 4 August 2008. The charges were believed to be linked to the $5bn arms procurement deal by the South African government in 1999.

Should Jacob Zuma have been convicted of corruption and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year (without being pardoned by Thabo Mbeki) he would have been ineligible for election to the South African Parliament and subsequently would not be able to serve as President of the Republic of South Africa.

Charges brought against Zuma declared unlawful

On 12 September 2008, Pietermaritzburg Judge Chris Nicholson held that Zuma's corruption charges were unlawful on procedural grounds in that the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions ("NDPP") did not give Zuma a chance to make representations before deciding to charge him (this is a requirement of the South Africa Constitution), and directed the state to pay legal costs. . Nicholson also added, however that he believed political interference played a role in the decision to recharge Zuma, although he did not say this was the reason why he held that the charges brought against Zuma were unlawful. Nicholson also stressed that his ruling did not relate to Zuma's guilt or innocence, but was merely on a procedural point. Various media reports had incorrectly reported that the charges against Zuma had been dismissed. This was not the case. It remained competent for the NDPP to recharge Zuma, however, only once 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 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 judgment "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 Judgment Judge Nicholson went on to write "There is a distressing pattern in the behaviour 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." Prior to the hearing there had been a spate of criticism of the South African Judiciary by Zuma supporters. In that context, the irony was that this was the third time the South African Judiciary had found in his favour, including Zuma's acquittal of the rape charge brought against him. The NDPP soon thereafter announced their intention to appeal the decision.
Appeal
Thabo Mbeki filed affidavit and applied to the Constitutional Court to appeal Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling: "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. Tlali Tlali, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, stated by phone from Pretoria, on September 23: "We have received the papers. It's under consideration.

Rape charges

In November 2005, an investigation began into charges that he had raped the 31 year old daughter of a deceased struggle comrade at his home in Forest Town, Johannesburg. Even before charges were filed, the news media reported that the alleged victim was a member of a prominent ANC family and also an AIDS activist; and that Zuma had acknowledged a consensual sexual relationship with the woman in question.

On the morning of 6 December 2005, rape charges against Zuma were formally filed. He vehemently denied the charges, and affirmed his political commitment to oppose sexual violence. The accuser, the young daughter of a deceased friend of Zuma's from during the years of the struggle against apartheid, was known by Zuma to be HIV positive. On 8 May 2006, the Court dismissed the charges, agreeing that the sexual act in question was consensual. During the trial, Zuma admitted to having unprotected sex with his accuser but claimed that he took a shower afterwards to "cut the risk of contracting HIV". Zuma at the time headed the National AIDS Council. This statement has been condemned by the judge, health experts, AIDS activists as well as ridiculed by the public in general. The popular South African comic strip, Madam & Eve, and well known political cartoonist, Zapiro, have repeatedly lampooned the matter.

Even before charges were filed, as rumors about rape accusations surfaced later in November Zuma's political prospects began to appear to take a turn for the worse. Most of his higher-level political supporters could not respond to these new charges the way they had the corruption charges. 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 survivor. As he did throughout the trial, Zuma sang Lethu Mshini Wami (Bring me my machine gun) with the crowd, and ANC Youth League and Communist Party Youth League spokesmen spoke in support of Zuma.

As the rape trial proceeded, reports surfaced that the South African Communist Party was severely divided over how to address the issue of Zuma and the SACP's relationship to him. Many members of the party's youth wing supported Zuma while others in the SACP were sceptical about the value of rallying behind a particular person as opposed to emphasizing principles of governance.

Despite the defection of some former supporters, many Zuma supporters continued to rally outside the courthouse, arousing criticism by anti-rape groups for regular attacks on the integrity and moral standing of Zuma's accuser, insults yelled at a close friend of the accuser, and even stones thrown at a woman that members of the crowd mistook for the accuser. Zuma's defense 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 was like that of a 'father-daughter' pair.

The trial also generated political controversy when Zuma, who 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 to try to reduce his risk of infection. HIV educators emphasized that this would do nothing to prevent HIV transmission.

On 8 May 2006, the court found Zuma not guilty on the sole charge of rape. Judge van der Merwe lambasted the accuser for lying to the court and he also censured Zuma for his recklessness during his delivery of the acquittal.

Continued support after corruption charges

While serving as deputy president, Zuma enjoyed considerable support in parts of the left wing of the ANC, including many in the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). While Zuma faced corruption charges, these organizations remained supportive of him. The influence of the semi-autonomous structures within the party helped Zuma retain support even as he lost the deputy presidency. For example, although he resigned as ANC deputy president soon after Schaik's convictions, he was reinstated---and granted a salary by the party, a privilege not previously enjoyed by any of the holders of that office.

Zuma's dismissal was interpreted in two ways. Many international observers hailed it as a clear sign that the South African government was dedicated to rooting out corruption within its own ranks. On the other hand, some within South Africa focused on the fact that Zuma and Mbeki represent different constituencies within the African National Congress. Some leftists saw his axing as an opportunity for Mbeki's more market-oriented wing of the party to gain further ascendancy, and theories about a conspiracy to knock Zuma down ran rampant in some South African circles.

Zuma's cause rallied large crowds of supporters to his cause at each of his appearances for corruption-related court dates in 2005. At one court date, Zuma supporters burned t-shirts with Mbeki's picture on them, which earned the condemnation of the ANC; Zuma and his allies urged a return to party discipline for subsequent gatherings. At the next court date in November, Zuma supporters numbering in the thousands gathered to support him; he addressed the Durban crowd in Zulu, urging party unity and singing the apartheid-era struggle song Lethu Mshini Wami with lyrics that translate literally to "bring me my machine" but understood to refer to a machine gun. At an October tour for the ANC Youth League elsewhere in the country, Zuma also earned the cheers of large crowds. While his political strength is at least partly based on his relationships within intra-party politics, one analyst argued that his supporters' loyalty could be explained as rooted in a Zulu approach to loyalty and mutual aid. Zuma had been particularly successful in rallying Zulu supporters. And the song Lethu Mshini Wami has become an anthem of pro-Zuma crowds.

Because of his support among elements of the party, Zuma remained a credible political figure even after his dismissal; many believed that all that stood between him and the presidency was a credible defense against the corruption charges brought against him. This was a task made more difficult but by no means impossible by the unequivocal judgment against Shaik. Zuma retained high-ranking status within the ANC and so his supporters hoped that he could still run for president in 2009 if found innocent of the charges made against him. A panel of political analysts convened in November 2005 (before rape charges surfaced) agreed that if he was to be found innocent, Zuma would be hard to beat by any other potential ANC candidate. However, these analysts also questioned whether Zuma was indeed a left-wing candidate of the sort that many of his supporters seem to seek, and noted that the global and national economic constraints that have shaped Mbeki's presidency would be no different in the next presidential term.

Succession

Nathi Mthethwa, Chief Whip of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) stated Mbeki's resignation takes effect on 25 September 2008. ANC President Jacob Zuma said that his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, would become president until 2009 general elections: "I am convinced - if given that responsibility - he (Motlanthe) would be equal to the task. The African National Congress confirmed that "Kgalema Motlanthe is to become caretaker president until 2009 elections.

Analysis

Zuma's successor as Deputy President of South Africa is Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the wife of Bulelani Ngcuka, who had been Minister of Minerals and Energy since 1999. While her appointment was widely welcomed by the business community, her popularity with rank-and-file ANC members remains uncertain. She was booed publicly at many ANC rallies by Zuma supporters between the time corruption charges had been filed but before rape charges were made with the first booing taking place in Utrecht.

Meanwhile, as his rape trial ended, many South Africans wondered how their political system would recover from the rifts that Zuma's trials have exposed. A Mail and Guardian analysis saw these events as especially troubling:

The political damage is incalculable, with the ruling African National Congress now an openly divided and faltering movement. This has had a domino effect on the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which have floundered and fractured in the face of damaging charges against a man they ardently backed as the country's next president.

The trial has been fought against the backdrop of a bitter succession war between Mbeki and Zuma… Mbeki's support in the ANC has crumbled, with the party faithful refusing to accept that he will anoint a leader… But even Zuma's most diehard supporters privately acknowledge that he cannot now be president, regardless of the trial outcome.

Nonetheless, Business Day's Karima Brown told The Guardian after the rape trial's verdict was handed down, "Jacob Zuma is back. This poses a serious dilemma for the ANC leadership. Now Zuma is marching back into Luthuli House [the ANC party HQ]. He will demand to be reinstated as deputy president and the others will find it difficult to block him … This is a major victory for Zuma's political career.

The prospect of Zuma's return as a contender for the presidency has reportedly caused South African business leaders to work on reassuring international investors; but even as they reassure, an Independent analyst suggested, "The fear of seeing Zuma and his crowd marching to the Union Buildings wielding machine guns is unnerving mostly to the middle class and businessmen, according to recent surveys.

As Zuma faces his corruption trial, the question of presidential succession looks increasingly unlikely for the beleaguered ANC stalwart. Whilst there is no doubt that his innocence or guilt can only be decided by a court of law, his behaviour in recent years has left a shadow over his sense of judgement and necessary education. His election as the president of the ANC on 18 December 2007 means that he now effectively controls the country's government as, although Thabo Mbeki is still reigning president, he heads up an ANC government and will report to the head of his party.

Personal life

Wives

Jacob Zuma is a self-proclaimed polygamist and has been married at least four times.

  1. Sizakele Khumalo, whom he met in 1959. She lives at his home at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. They have no children.
  2. Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, with whom he had four children, but from whom he is divorced.
  3. Kate, with whom he had five children. She committed suicide on 8 December 2000.
  4. Mantuli Zuma married Zuma five years ago. She has a five-year old daughter and a seven-month-old son with him.
  5. Nompumelelo Ntuli, the mother of two of his children, married on 8 January 2008. Ntuli, born 1975, is a resident of KwaMaphumulo near Stanger and has two children with Zuma -- Thandisiwe, born 2002, and Sinqobile, born February 2006.

Fiancées

  1. Zuma paid lobola to the clan of Thobeka Stacy Mabhija, 35, with whom he has two children. The second is three months old. Ms. Mabhija works at a mobile phone company.
  2. Zuma paid 10 cattle as lobola for Swazi Princess Sebentile Dlamini in 2002.
  3. Lobola has been paid for Bongi Ngema, with whom he has a 3-year-old son

He reportedly has 18 children, including one resulting from an affair with Minah Shongwe, sister of Judge Jeremiah Shongwe, who asked to be recused from Mr. Zuma’s rape trial because of the liaison. She has a son, Edward, 30, with Mr. Zuma.

Zuma and Zimbabwe

The African National Congress, of which Zuma is now president, historically has considered the ZANU-PF party a natural ally, borne out of mutual struggle against white oppression. South African president Thabo Mbeki has never publicly criticised Mugabe's policies – preferring "quiet diplomacy" rather than "megaphone diplomacy," his term for the harsh Western condemnations of Mugabe's leadership. However, the left of the party and extra-party organisations such as the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) have always advocated for a tougher stance on Zimbabwe. It is from these organisations that Zuma derives his support.

Zuma's stance on Zimbabwe has been mixed. In an 2006 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.

However, by December 2007, he was more forthright in criticising Zimbabwe's leadership, increasingly defining his own policy in contrast to that of Mbeki:

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

Following the disputed elections in Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008, he became critical of the election process in Zimbabwe referring to delays in the outcome as "suspicious". In a press conference on 24 June, he asserted: "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. At an ANC dinner in July, he rebuked Mugabe for refusing to step down.

Zuma vs the media

As a backlash to the frenzied media following of his rape trial, Zuma filed a series of defamation lawsuits against various South African media outlets for publishing unsavoury content that allegedly besmirched his public profile, in the form of cartoons, commentary, photos and parody pieces. These lawsuits were filed on 30 June 2006.

The media outlets that have come under fire are:

  • The Star – R 20 million
  • Rapport – R 10 million
  • Highveld Stereo – R 6 million
  • The Citizen – R 5 million
  • Sunday Sun – R 5 million
  • Sunday Independent – R 5 million
  • Sunday World – R 5 million

Former Conservative Party MP advocate Jurg Prinsloo, as well as Wycliffe Mothuloe have been appointed by Zuma to tackle his so-called 'crucifixion by the media.'

Zuma said:

"For a period of five years my person has been subjected to all types 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 defend myself.", 29 June 2005.

The response from the challenged media has been highly critical, and written protests to various media outlets slam accuse Zuma of challenging their freedom of speech.

Zuma was ridiculed further in an advertisement for Pronto Condoms, using his famous shower statement.

Controversy

Remarks on homosexual marriage

Zuma was sharply criticised by gay and lesbian groups after he criticized same-sex marriage at a Heritage Day celebration on 24 September 2006 in Stanger. He said same-sex marriages were "a disgrace to the nation and to God" and "When I was growing up, an ungqingili (a homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out."

The Joint Working Group (a homosexual lobby organisation) 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? Zuma subsequently apologised to those who were offended by the statement, by 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.'

Remarks on Western Sahara

Habib Defouad, Morocco's ambassador to South Africa, strongly criticized Zuma's support for the independence of Western Sahara in June 2007. ANC has since the 1970s strongly supported the Sahrawi independence movement Front Polisario, under both Mandela and Mbeki, considering it Africa's last colony. In 2004 South Africa recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or SADR, as a legitimate government-in-exile.

See also

References

External links

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