Only when both Mbeki and Zuma are removed from the fray will the ANC be able to revitalise South Africaby Andrew Feinstein / January 20, 2008 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2008 issue of Prospect Magazine
Jacob Zuma is a barrel-chested man with a large, open face which often breaks into a brilliant smile. Down the right side of his face is a long scar which attests to a life of struggle and hardship. Arriving illiterate on Robben Island in his early twenties, Zuma revealed not only a great capacity for learning but a political shrewdness and toughness that after his release saw him rise to become head of ANC intelligence, in 1987.
With the advent of democracy in South Africa, Zuma became ANC leader in his Zulu-dominated home province of KwaZulu-Natal. He served as the province’s economics minister before being made the country’s deputy president by President Thabo Mbeki in 1999.
But in 2005, Zuma’s financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for corruption based on a relationship of “mutually beneficial symbiosis” with the deputy president. Mbeki fired his former ally, who soon faced his own corruption trial and was also charged with the rape of a young, HIV-positive family friend.