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President Jacob Zuma, Wall of Jericho

Updated on April 1, 2017
Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa from 2008 to date
Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa from 2008 to date | Source

Authors Note

This hub is an installment of the series 'Noteworthy Trend of Events in South Africa'.

Jacob Zuma, the Untouchable

A calling for President Zuma to step down during the November meeting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was unsuccessful.

The meeting of this highest organ of the ANC between National Conferences was scheduled for November 25th and 28th, but due to the unexpected call for the president to step down and the consequent robust and fiery debates between pro-Zuma and anti-Zuma members, the meeting had to be extended to Monday, the 27th.

This was the first calling from within the ANC party for President Zuma to step down. The previous seven motions of no confidence in him were demanded by opposition parties and debated in Parliament

The ANC will not give in to the demands of opposition parties and their followers,” confirmed the ANC’s Secretary General again during the media conference on Tuesday November 8th. “When a call for the president to step down comes from within the ANC, it will be debated until consensus is reached. We do not vote in a NEC meeting, and we do not table motions of no confidence in a NEC meeting.

So, regardless of the anti-Zumas’ points of views and the countless #ZumaMustFall callings from the public and various institutions, including ANC institutions, President Zuma will not vacate the president’s office. He will step down at the end of his term in 2017. Period.

President Zuma told the NEC that stepping down will be like handing himself over to the enemy who wants to see him in jail. He also claimed that all charges and claims against him were “made up” by an unnamed enemy, and that attempts against him have been long in the making, dating back to former president Thabo Mbeki’s era.

Why is it so difficult to get rid of Zuma?

News24 speculated that the real reason the ANC cannot get rid of President Zuma is that it may result in the Zulu peoples’ withdrawal from the ANC. Without the support of the Zulus the ANC will definitely lose the 2019 election. Focusing only on black/white divisions and disparities diverts attention from the black on black political violence and tribal disputes, warned News24. We forget that among many South Africans, tribalism is at a constant yet controlled simmer.

The way forward

According to Daily Maverick’s associate editor, Ranjeni Munusamy, the Anti-Zumas have a Plan B, which may be implemented if ministers who spoke against Zuma get sacked, or negatively affected by a reshuffling of cabinet.

Please note:

Before 1953 schools for black children were established by British missionaries. Attendance was not compulsory. In 1953 the South African (Apartheid) Government implemented “Bantu Education”. While the standard of education offered by missionary schools was the same as the standard offered by the government to white children, the standard of Bantu Education was considerably lower. The curriculum was designed to prepare black children only for menial jobs. Therefor nobody can blame Zuma for not having any formal qualifications.

At the same time we know that Nelson Mandela managed to pass matric (Grade 12) and to even study law at the University of the Witwatersrand where he was, at that time, the only black African student.)

Who is Jacob Zuma?

A timeline of Jacob Zuma's life may give us an idea why members of the ANC and his loyal followers regard him as their hero –

  • 12 April 1942: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is born in Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His second name, Gedleyihlekisa, means “The one who laughs at you while physically hurting you”. His clan name, Msholozi, is derived from a verb, uku-zuma, which means ‘surprise’, ‘take by surprise’. He is also referred to by his initials JZ.
  • 1942 – 1958: Zuma’s father - a policeman - died when Zuma was young. His mother was a domestic worker. As a child, Zuma constantly moved from relative to relative with no intention to attend school. Some sources alleged that he managed to pass Standard Four (Grade Six), which enables a child to read and write the basics, and to do elementary calculations.

  • 1959: Jacob joins the ANC (African National Congress) at the age of 17.
  • 8 April 1960: The South African government bans the ANC. The ANC continues to operate underground.
  • 1962: Zuma becomes a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (the military force of the ANC.)
  • 1963: While trying to leave SA with forty-five new Umkhonto weSizwe recruits, Zuma is arrested, convicted of aspiring to overthrow the government, and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment served on Robben Island along with Nelson Mandela. In prison he would serve as a referee for prisoners' association football games, organized by the prisoners' own governing body, Makana F.A.
  • 1973: Soon after his release from prison Zuma marries Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, whom he met in 1959. (They have no children.)
  • 1973: Being a polygamist, Jacob Zuma takes a second wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is a respected minister from 1994 until today, and a favorite candidate in the running for president to be elected in 2019. The couple becomes the parents of Msholozi (born 1982), Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube (born 1985), Thuli Nokuthula Nomaqhawe (born 1987), and Thuthu Thuthukile Xolile (born 1989). In June 1998 their marriage ends in a divorce due to “irreconcilable differences”.
  • 1973-1975: Zuma again joins Umkhonto weSizwe. Responsible for mobilizing internal resistance in KwaZulu-Natal, he is instrumental in the re-establishment of the ANC structures in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • 1975: Zuma leaves South Africa to recruit new soldiers for Umkhonto weSizwe among young, black South African exiles in Swaziland and Mozambique. The South African government labels these soldiers as ‘terrorists’ instead of ‘freedom fighters’, and enforces military border posts.
  • 1976: Zuma takes a third wife, Kate Mantsho (born 2 September 1956) from Mozambique. They have five children, Saady (born 1980), twins Duduzile and Duduzane (born 1984), Phumzile (born 1989) and Vusi (date of birth unknown.) After a troubled marriage to Zuma, Kate commits suicide on 8 December 2000, when she gives the Reverend Frank Chikane a note, “… Strictly my dear children, my maternal family to attend. From the Zumas only Bro Mike and all the Mzobe family.” Her husband, Jacob Zuma, may not attend her funeral. In her suicide letter she calls her marriage “24 years of hell”.
  • 1977: After living in several African countries, working for the ANC, Zuma becomes a member of the NEC (National Executive Committee of the ANC)
  • 1984: Zuma is appointed Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC in Mozambique. Later in the year he is promoted to Chief Representative.
  • December 1986: The South African government requests that Mozambican authorities expel six senior members of the ANC including Jacob Zuma.
  • 1987: Zuma moves to the ANC head office in Lusaka, Zambia, where he is appointed Head of Underground Structures, and then Chief of the Intelligence Department. He also serves on the ANC Political and Military Council, which was formed in the mid-1980s.
  • 1990: The ANC is unbanned. Zuma returns to South Africa. He plays an instrumental role during the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa. In his capacity as elected Chairperson of the Southern Natal Region at the first regional congress of the ANC, he takes a lead role in fighting political violence between members of the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
  • 1991: Zuma is elected Deputy Secretary General of the ANC.
  • 1994: The Apartheid regime officially ends. The ANC wins the first election of a democratic South Africa. Nelson Mandela is elected President with Thabo Mbeki as his deputy. Honored in Washington, DC with the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership, Zuma becomes MEC (Member of the Executive Council for Economic Affairs and Tourism in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. He is also elected National Chairperson for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. Although the ANC won the national election, the majority people in the province of Kwazula-Natal voted for the IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party). At this stage the IFP is regarded as a party that will take care of the Zulu people, while the ANC is seen as a party that promotes the interest of the Xhosa people.
  • December 1997: Jacob Zuma is elected Deputy President of the ANC and consequently appointed executive Deputy President of South Africa in June 1999. Along with Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, he works in Kampala, Uganda, as facilitator of the Burundi peace process.
  • 1998: Zuma divorces his second wife, now Doctor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  • 1999: Zuma is elected Deputy President of South Africa.
  • 2001: A court case following allegations of abuse of power concerning improper influence in a controversial arms deal with resulting financial benefit, is dropped against Zuma ‘as there was prima facie evidence of corruption, but insufficient to win the case in court’.
  • 2004: Zuma becomes a key figure mentioned in the corruption trial of his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, over the purchase of Valour-class patrol corvettes. Corruption is also detected in a proposed waterfront development in Durban and work that was done to Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla.
  • 2005: Shaik is found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Judge Hillary Squires described the relationship between Zuma and Shaik as “generally corrupt”.
  • June 14, 2005: Weeks after Zuma was implicated in the corruption and fraud of his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, Mbeki sacked Zuma as deputy president. “…. In the interest of the honorable deputy president, the government, our young democratic system and our country, it would be best to release the honorable Jacob Zuma from his responsibilities as deputy president of the republic and member of the Cabinet,” is but only one paragraph of Mbeki’s full speech to Parliament. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) now announces that it will charge Zuma with two counts of corruption. The trial is scheduled for July 31, 2006.


Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Kwezi)

After the trial, humiliated and afraid of Zuma and his followers, Kwezi left South Africa and settled in Amsterdam. Four years later she moved to Dar-es-Salaam. She secretly returned to SA where she died in October 2016 at the age of 41.

“Fezekile was a feminist, an activist, a teacher, a sister, a friend, a colleague who inspired people close to her,” was a statement that was issued by ”One in Nine Campaign against se*ual violence”

”I am Khanga” is a powerful poem of Kwezi, published in 2008 in the Dutch quarterly ZAM Magazine. She recited this poem, dressed in a khanga, that same year at the opening of the “Identity, Power and Connection” exhibition in Holland. (A khanga is a light East African cotton fabric printed with colored designs, used mainly for women's clothing.)

(Unfortunately I can’t publish the poem in here, as it contains words not allowed to be published in Hubpages.)

  • 6 December 2005: (Please note that Hubpages’s rules prevent me from using specific words.) Zuma is officially charged for r*pe. He pleads not guilty; according to him the act with Kwezi, the daughter of his late friend, was consensual. Six months later, on May 8th 2006, the Court dismisses the charges, agreeing with Zuma. During the trial he claims that taking a shower after having the act cut the risk of contracting the virus. After being acquitted of the rape charge, Zuma files defamation lawsuits against various South African media outlets for publishing content that besmirched his public profile. According to him he was ‘crucified by the media’.
  • 2006-2007: Zuma combats against President Mbeki leading to the South African High Court’s ruling that Mbeki had improperly interfered with the operations of the NPA, including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption. During a NEC meeting Mbeki is recalled as President of the ANC.
  • 18 December 2007: Zuma becomes President of the ANC. After the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki on 20 September 2008, Zuma becomes President of South Africa,
  • 28 December 2007: The Scorpions (similar to the USA’s FBI) serve Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on 783 charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering, and money laundering, all of it related to the Arms Deal which was finalized in 1999. If convicted, Zuma would be ineligible for election to the South African Parliament and consequently he would not be eligible to serve as President of South Africa.

  • 8 January 2008: Zuma marries his fourth wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli (MaNtuli), born 1975. She is already mother to two of his children, Thandisiwe and Sinqobile.
  • April 2009: The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) drops the 783 charges brought against Jacob Zuma. Their decision is based largely on what have become known as the ”spy tapes”. Conversations recorded on these tapes indicate a conspiracy against Zuma in favor of Mbeki. The DA (opposition party) subsequently filed for a judicial review of the NPA's decision, stating that the director had "not made a decision based in law, but buckled to political pressure".
  • June 2009: According to a survey more than half of South Africans view President Jacob Zuma as doing a good job. The poll, conducted by TNS Research Studies, reveals that Zuma's approval ratings had steadily improved.
  • 4 January 2010: Zuma marries his fifth wife, Thobeka Stacie Madiba. The couple has three children. Two were born out-of-wedlock, as Zuma already paid lobola to her clan in 2007. In 2016, the BBC will credit Thobeka for campaigning for the rights of girls at risk of forced or child-age marriage.
  • 20 April 2012: Zuma marries wife number six, Gloria Bongekile Ngema. Ngema has one son with Zuma, Sinqumo, born before 2012, as lobola was paid before 2009.
  • December 2012 – Zuma is re-elected as President of the ANC, and consequently re-elected as the President of South Africa.
  • June 2012: Activists, including some members of the ANC, complain about the amount the state has to pay to support Zuma's wives and twenty-two children, of whom several are illegitimate. In the 2009/10 financial year R16,6 million was paid for Zuma wives- and child support. There is also a fiancée, the Swazi Princess Sebentile Dlamini, whose lobola of ten cattle was paid. The activists suggest that only Zuma's first wife should receive state support, especially in the context of SA’s widespread poverty. The ANC government defends Zuma, saying that his personal life is nobody’s business.

According to rumors Nene was fired for -

  • Vetoing controversial uses of public funds, including the SAA (South African Airways)’s attempt to purchase five Airbus A330s through an unnamed third party (who could be the Gupta-family);
  • not approving a proposed SAA direct flight route between Sudan and South Africa;
  • his resistance to approve funding for a nuclear deal with Russia;
  • not approving the purchase of a new R4 billion Boeing 787 presidential plane.

  • December 2015: Zuma shocks the country and the world by sacking Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene for no apparent reason and by appointing a relatively unknown minister in his place. During the next 48 hours the South African Rand loses 10% of its value, and the withdrawal of an estimated R180 billion from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. South Africa’s total loss caused by President Zuma’s irresponsible actions is R99 billion Rand! Four days later Zuma is compelled to replace the newly appointed minister with a former and trusted Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordan. According to the The Daily Maverick the President has exposed himself as “a weak leader who acted recklessly without proper advice".
  • March 2016: Zuma’s disastrous faux pas in December 2015 at the costs of R99 billion Rand, as well as allegations that a foreign business-family has captured South Africa, inspire the DA (opposition party) to request a formal investigation by the Public Protector, whose role is to protect the public against a corrupt government.
  • 29 April 2016: The High Court in Pretoria finds that the decision made in 2009 to drop the 783 corruption charges against President Zuma was irrational and should be reviewed. According to the court the director of the NPA should have followed the legal processes on emergence of the "spy tapes" and allowed the court to decide if the charges should have been withdrawn. The director acted "alone and impulsively", and therefore his decision was "irrational". The NPA and its current head must now decide if it will recharge President Jacob Zuma with the original 783 counts of corruption. However, the current NPA, Shaun Abrahams, has already shred the NPA’s reputation, by indulging in the worst sins of politics - making broad and sweeping – and inaccurate – claims about himself, dodging questions on dubious grounds and shredding logic along the way.” - Phillip de Wet
  • August 2016: In SA’s national election the ANC loses three metros to the DA (opposition party). The ANC admits the reason is Zuma’s scandals.
  • September 2016 – In 2009 security upgrades to the amount of R60-million was approved for President Zuma’s personal residence in Nkandla. Five years later the project was completed at the exorbitant amount of R246-million. Allegations that tax-money was used to build the swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken-run, visitor’s centre and the culvert, which cannot be categorized as ‘security upgrades’, eventually led to an investigation by the Public Protector. She found that Zuma had indeed benefited improperly from the expenditure and recommended that he pay back the money that was spent on non-security features - an amount of R7.8 million as calculated by Treasury. Zuma ignored her findings and recommendation. After numerous outbursts in Parliament, the President’s appoints a commission of inquiry to investigate what the Public Protector had already investigated. After the commission's report purported to exonerate him, the Constitutional Court finally confirms that he had failed to uphold, defend and respect SA’s Constitution by ignoring the report and recommendation of the Public Protector. This results in the umpteenth call for his resignation. Suspicion still exists regarding the settlement of his account. Exactly where did he get the almost R8 million? According to him a bond on his homestead has been approved by an unknown bank, but no proof of a registered bond could be found by curious journalists.
  • 3 November 2016: Zuma's friendship with a family of businessmen who allegedly offered Cabinet positions in exchange for contracts, and apparently influence the running of government, led to an investigation by the Public Protector. Her report named State of Capture indicates that President Zuma may have breached SA’s Executive Code of Ethics, and that his son Duduzane's relationship with the Gupta family may have been a conflict of interest. This report leads to the 8th motion of no confidence in President Zuma - the 3rd to be debated in Parliament since January 2016. The ANC again used its 62% majority to vote in favor of the president. “The request of the leader of the opposition party - that members of the ANC must vote according to their conscience and not according to the rules of the ANC - is totally absurd,” reckons the ANC’s Secretary General. Zuma announces on November 25th that he will be taking the report on review, specifically the Public Protector’s order that a judicial inquiry be established by the president before December 3rd to investigate all allegations of improper conduct and undue influence exerted by the Gupta family over him and other key-figures by a commission headed by a judge selected by the Chief Justice.
  • 27 November 2016: During the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting Zuma survived the 8th attempt to remove him from office.

All of above seems to be only the ears of the hippo, as Jacob Zuma seems to be a giant of a hero in the new history books of South Africa.

President Zuma's homestead in NKandla
President Zuma's homestead in NKandla | Source
Martie Coetser
Martie Coetser

Opinion of an owfma-sa

Obviously, Jacob Zuma climbed the ladder of success in a diligent manner. Because high winds blow on high hills, and people tend to believe whatever they want, the man will be torn apart even decades after his death.

Being an owfma-sa - an ordinary white female middle-aged South African - I thank my lucky stars for not being saddled with the responsibility to 'run' a country.

In reality Jacob Zuma’s habit of laughing in the face of the people of South-Africa provokes indescribable disgust.

Listen how Jacob Zuma laughs at South Africans -

© 2016 Martie Coetser


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    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      23 months ago from South Africa

      Mike, I get the idea that the USA has jumped into the same political boat as South Africa? I can not remember a more controversial result of a USA election, or perhaps I just didn't notice. Stories that Zuma is campaigning for a unconstitutional third term are of great concern. His buddies are afraid, they're going to lose their highly paid jobs, and so they will back him to the best of their corrupt abilities. (Sigh!)

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Both historical and hysterical. What is the world coming to? I guess you know the answer.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      @ MsDora – The only reason I can find is that they derive a benefit they’re not willing to sacrifice. Nobody in their right mind will kill a hen that lays golden eggs. Your wish for our moral-minded citizens is highly appreciated.

      @ AliciaC – I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. We are trapped between corrupt leaders, heartless criminals and activists for a socialist/communist government. I honestly don’t see any peace in the future. I hope my grandchildren will get an opportunity to settle in a county where they will be safe and able to make a decent living. O appreciate your positive hopes.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing all the details, Martie. What a complex and horrible situation. I hope the situation improves for South Africa.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      What is the word to describe the situation in which people, love, marry, support and defend a man who is obviously wicked? May you and all the other moral-minded citizens find ways to cope!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      Ghana Boy, fortunately he has only one year to go :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      @ Flourish - Thank heavens for good and decent people. They are still the majority.

      @ btrbell - People tend to expect only the best, therefor a leader of a country has to enrich himself all the time with knowledge and above-average ideas. Sadly, Jacob Zuma doesn't read, and this he had admitted without any qualms of conscience.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Wow! So interesting. As another middle aged white woman, I do agree with you, I would never want that kind of power!

      Thsnk you for sharing another extremely informative hub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I'm with Shyron on how bad our President Elect is. I am appalled by the lurid details of your so-called leader and feel badly for the good and decent people of your country.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      @ Thank you, Sharon! I think she will enjoy my photo tours of SA. Check my profile.

      @ Dear Mar, I am a owfma-SA who have learned the hard way how to walk on water. I have a motto, you know. That famous prayer. God, help me to change what can be changed, and to come to peace with the rest :))

      @ Always, knowing what goes on in other countries help me to appreciate what's going on in my own. I look at Syria and other countries in Africa, then I realise I have nothing to complain about. Not yet :) Just don't look too far ahead.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      My goodness how many more children is he going to have with so many different women? This is very interesting. Maybe our government is not so bad. I see Zuma as a man who will rule as long as the people put up with him. What did Mandela think of him? I admired him very much, as did President Obama. Thank you for sharing news of SA with us. Your research is excellent. I watched the video and Zuma appeared to be mocking all questions, and was having a good time. Stay safe my friend

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      This post has me shaking my head, dear Martie.

      I admit I had similar thoughts to Shyron the more I learned about Zuma.

      You are detailed, objective and balanced as you share this most noteworthy news. Love you lots, mar

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      I sent Rosa, my neighbor an e-mail with a link to your article.

      Blessings my friend

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      Nell, the same things seem to repeat itself. I just watch the movie 'A long way to freedom' - Nelson Mandela's biography. He was one of a kind. Being a successful leader depends on a person's goal, I think. Mandela wanted freedom for his people, Zuma wants power, the next president may want something else....

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      Shyron, I'm beginning to see the similarities. Hard to come to terms with reality! I'm constantly reminding myself that it could have been worse. Say hallo to your neighbors. I envy them!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Great information Martie, and so much I didn't know. no education, accusations and so on, not sure what will happen out there but maybe one of these days they will get it right.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Martie, it is really interesting to read about SA's Zuma, my neighbors are from SA and I can tell them about your hub. They may even begin to follow you, if I can get Rosa to join HP.

      "In reality Jacob Zuma’s habit of laughing in the face of the people of South-Africa provokes indescribable disgust." If you switch substitute Donald Trump for Jacob Zuma, that is what we will have here in a few months.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      Hi billybuc, you may impress your friends with your knowledge of South Africa :) Personally I find information about other countries extremely interesting. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always interesting to learn about other countries, and South Africa rarely makes the U.S. News, so thanks for the report and your insights.


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