Home / Observatory / Politics / Zuma's Days Are Numbered, As Are His Scandals


South Africans wait in anticipation after Zuma was asked by the ANC to step down as acting president of the country. All citizens can do is hold their breath and hope that a sensible decision is made. Anticipation is also a good time for reflection on South Africa and the scandals involving Zuma over his career as president. These are the four biggest Zuma scandals:

  1. The good old "shower-head" analogy was born in 2006 when the story broke that Zuma was taken to court on charges of rape by a 31-year-old woman he claimed to be a family friend. However, he also claimed that the sex was consensual and pleaded not guilty. The world was more taken aback by his follow up comments when he claimed to knowingly have had sex with an HIV positive woman, then saying that he'd had a shower directly after intercourse to avoid contracting AIDS instead of wearing protection. A dangerous and ignorant comment to publicly pass with the rapid spread of AIDS in the country, not to mention his position as head of the South African National AIDS Council at the time.

  2. The beginning of the Nkandla saga began in 2014 with the "security upgrades" to his house in KwaZulu-Natal, including a pool (later described as a fire-fighting facility or firepool), chicken run, cattle enclosure and amphitheatre. He spent two years convincing the court that these amenities were necessary so that he didn't have to pay back the money. The fight went on for so long that even other political figures started demanding justice for the unlawful spending of taxes. Eventually, justice won and Zuma paid back the R7.81 million.

  3. Atul Gupta arrived in SA way back in 1993, with his brothers arriving soon after. By 2013 the Mail & Guardian had already printed exposés on their involvement in shady deals with the politically connected, including Zuma, eventually creating a scandal known as Guptagate. The country knew that this relationship was corrupt from the beginning and worsened in 2016 as their influence led to Zuma offering positions of power to those that agreed to help the Gupta's with their business ventures. Consequently, many corruption charges followed Zuma and his son in their tainted relationship with the Gupta's, with their relationship dubbed the Zupta's.

  4. Zuma's corrupt actions followed him even as he was promoted to president, including corruption and fraud allegations for a multi-billion-dollar arms deal that was signed way back in 1999. The DA fought Zuma in court over the deal on over 800 counts of corruption and he was held liable for prosecution. Just from this ruling alone, Zuma is liable for over 18 criminal charges resulting in significant jail time for the 783 payments he allegedly received. Even Zuma's adviser, Schabir Shaik, faced consequences of the arms deal and was jailed for 15 years in 2005. He was released on medical parole in 2009, the same year Zuma became president.

Let's hope South Africa can breathe a sigh of relief soon and set itself on the straight and narrow after so much corruption.

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