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

South African ...

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 8:43 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 8:43 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 590211

Reported Deaths: 9310
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion815581297
Lake44306666
Allen31919541
Hamilton28371304
St. Joseph26766371
Elkhart24098341
Vanderburgh18643213
Tippecanoe17422121
Johnson14496284
Porter14399160
Hendricks13870241
Madison10561212
Vigo10483171
Clark10240130
Monroe9076108
Delaware8836132
LaPorte8771155
Howard7897138
Kosciusko787277
Warrick643890
Hancock638797
Bartholomew626694
Floyd6150105
Wayne5933157
Grant5818110
Dubois544372
Boone534367
Morgan516291
Marshall494184
Henry493664
Cass471760
Noble460557
Dearborn458444
Jackson414745
Shelby402179
Lawrence380575
Clinton364539
Gibson356556
DeKalb337363
Montgomery334851
Harrison328542
Knox327839
Miami309843
Steuben306340
Adams295235
Whitley294125
Wabash293045
Ripley292345
Putnam284847
Huntington283557
Jasper282433
White267538
Daviess261672
Jefferson250738
Fayette242348
Decatur242182
Greene233360
Posey232326
Wells229447
LaGrange224161
Clay217932
Scott216937
Randolph208340
Jennings192535
Sullivan189031
Spencer181917
Fountain179725
Washington177118
Starke171341
Jay162821
Owen159537
Fulton159229
Carroll152115
Orange151433
Rush149918
Perry147227
Vermillion144933
Franklin143433
Parke12908
Tipton128232
Pike113625
Blackford107522
Pulaski95237
Newton89421
Brown85530
Benton84310
Crawford7579
Martin70013
Warren6587
Switzerland6205
Union6113
Ohio4677
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 826754

Reported Deaths: 10200
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin97493705
Cuyahoga821781012
Hamilton61350439
Montgomery41700399
Summit33399726
Lucas30111597
Butler29721228
Stark24811400
Warren18917139
Lorain18086212
Mahoning16758335
Lake15365135
Clermont15160104
Delaware1382177
Licking12679132
Trumbull12401302
Fairfield1218480
Greene11631133
Medina11128165
Clark10608264
Wood9964154
Allen9511126
Portage8867105
Miami886573
Richland8790116
Marion7319113
Tuscarawas7142174
Columbiana7085124
Pickaway702850
Wayne6781164
Muskingum671242
Erie5886118
Hancock537890
Ross530287
Scioto519662
Geauga483555
Darke457589
Ashtabula439068
Lawrence432651
Union430628
Mercer424287
Sandusky421862
Seneca413555
Auglaize412759
Huron410338
Shelby410221
Jefferson403366
Belmont395640
Washington372040
Putnam364672
Athens36369
Madison339329
Knox336522
Ashland331738
Fulton325943
Defiance319278
Crawford313268
Preble311534
Brown296619
Logan292729
Ottawa282134
Clinton279043
Williams270166
Highland262418
Jackson256943
Guernsey241725
Champaign240927
Fayette225529
Morrow22294
Perry221318
Holmes218662
Henry210247
Hardin204133
Coshocton197420
Van Wert196644
Gallia190926
Wyandot190549
Adams165615
Pike164116
Hocking163423
Carroll149516
Paulding139021
Noble117840
Meigs103221
Monroe95629
Harrison8568
Morgan79128
Vinton67113
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 20°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Huntington
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 21°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Lima
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 19°
Seasonal Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events