POLITICS

The Man With Eight Lives: The Scandals Zuma Outmanoeuvred Over 22 Years

Does he have a ninth life?

05/04/2017 17:07 SAST | Updated 06/04/2017 16:51 SAST

ANALYSIS

President Jacob Zuma appears to have survived his eighth scandal and crisis this week. In addition, four motions of no confidence at Parliament against him failed, raising doubts about the passage of the fifth motion of no confidence the Democratic Alliance intends tabling when Parliament is recalled.

The governing ANC's powerful national working committee accepted the president's decision to fire five ministers last week; it chided the three top officials who spoke out against it and it accepted the president's view that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was axed because the relationship between the two men had irretrievably broken down.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer general Zweli Mkhize and secretary general Gwede Mantashe all spoke out critically at the weekend. They slammed the method of the reshuffle and were critical Gordhan's axing because of a smear intelligence dossier that found its way into Zuma's hands and upon which he acted.

Here are all the scandals and crises the president has survived.

1995

The first news breaks of arms deal middleman Schabir Shaik requesting a R500,000 a year gratuity payment for his client Zuma to assist in winning a part of the lucrative arms deal. The arms deal haunts Zuma to this day as he still fighting to ensure that 783 counts of corruption related to the arms deal do not get into court.

2005

While ANC deputy president, Zuma is charged with rape. He is acquitted but he is criticised for extramarital and unprotected sex with the HIV-positive daughter of a friend. A shower is attached as caricature to his head by cartoonists after he defends his action by saying he showered afterwards. The woman who laid the charge, Fezekile "Khwezi" Kuzwayo, dies in October 2016. She spent years exiled after the charges.

Since becoming president

2009.

The Mail&Guardian breaks the first story about massive renovations to the President's estate at Nkandla. Later, the public protector report "Secure in comfort" narrates how R254-million in public money was spent on Nkandla.

February 2010.

Zuma apologises to the nation and to the ANC for fathering a child out of wedlock with his friend Irvin Khoza's daughter, Sonono Khoza.

May 2013.

The Gupta family lands a jet at Waterkloof military base, a national key point, after the president secures permission for them to do so. Blue light police then whisk 200 guests to Sun City. The ANC is apoplectic with rage but the president survives and a fall guy takes the rap.

September 2014.

Sunday Times reports that Thales, an arms company, had arranged flights, fancy clothes and legal fees to support Zuma through its middleman Ajay Sooklal. In April 2016, the Seriti commission of inquiry finds there was no corruption in the arms deal. It is widely regarded as a whitewash.

December 2015.

The president axes finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. The markets tank and listed shares lose billions. The ANC panics and makes the president appoint Pravin Gordhan as finance minister for a second stint.

March 2016.

Then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas reveals he was invited by the president's son Duduzane Zuma and arms deal middleman Fana Hlongwane to the Gupta home in November 2015. There, he was offered the job of finance minister for a bribe of R600 million, some in cash and some in a Dubai bank account.

March 2016

The Constitutional Court rules that Zuma failed to honour his oath of office in relation to the Nkandla spending and the processes that followed.

November 2016

The former public protector Thuli Madonsela releases the State of Capture report. It lays bare the extent of capture of the state and state-owned enterprises by the Gupta family. Madonsela recommends that a judicial commission of inquiry is instituted by the chief justice.

March 2017.

On the last day of March, at midnight, the president undertakes a Cabinet reshuffle and axes Gordhan, his deputy Jonas as well as four other ministers. This is greeted with shock and anger across the country, both within and outside the ANC. He survives.


Motions of no confidence and impeachment

March 2016

The Democratic Alliance (DA) tables a motion of no confidence in President Zuma in relation to the firing of finance minister Nhanhla Nene and the economic repercussions.

It fails.

April 5 2016

The DA tables a motion to impeach Zuma after the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla

It fails.

November 2016

The DA tables a motion of no confidence in Zuma in relation to the publication of the State of Capture report

It fails.

November 2016

In the ANC national executive committee, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom tables a motion of no confidence in Zuma.

It fails.

April 2017

The DA requests the speaker of Parliament to recall the house for the tabling of a motion of no confidence in President Zuma.

Will it fail too?