POLITICS
14/02/2018 22:59 SAST | Updated 14/02/2018 23:01 SAST

These Are The Ghosts And Scandals Zuma Leaves Us With

From 783 counts of fraud and racketeering to rape allegations and state capture.

Jacob Zuma's tenure as South Africa's president has been fraught with scandal, and after 10 years at the helm of the ANC and nine as state president, his term has been brought to an abrupt and premature end.

Zuma announced his resignation on Wednesday evening after two weeks of negotiations between him and the ANC's top leaders.

These are the dark clouds that continue to hover as Zuma's political career grinds to a halt:

Mr. 7-8-3

In 2003, then national director of public prosecutions, advocate Bulelani Ngcuka, announced that there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma. Ngcuka declined to prosecute the then-deputy president on the grounds that the state did not have a winnable case.

Two years later, the NPA, then headed by Ngcuka's successor, advocate Vusi Pikoli, officially charged Zuma. This followed the conviction of Zuma's close friend and financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, on two charges of corruption, and for soliciting a bribe for Zuma from a French arms deal beneficiary, Thales, in exchange for protection from possible investigation into the arms deal.

Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but served only two years and four months (most of it under guard in hospital) before being released on medical parole for an unspecified terminal illness. That was nine years ago.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Zuma addresses the Durban High Court, April 7, 2009. He said he had been "vindicated" after prosecutors dropped corruption charges against him and vowed to focus on leading the country after an election this month.

Zuma has previously faced only two charges of corruption based on the indictment in the Shaik trial. But 14 charges were then added, including racketeering, fraud and money-laundering.

Zuma's charge sheet disclosed that, between 1995 and 2005, Zuma or his family allegedly received 783 payments totalling more than R4-million from Shaik or his companies.

The charges were dropped in 2009, but after seven years of court battles, the High Court found the NPA's decision was illegal and irrational. Zuma appealed the ruling and lost. Attempts to find reasons to drop the charges against Zuma, which had been reinstated by the court decision, may be what has been keeping the NPA and its boss, advocate Shaun Abrahams, busy since the judgment.

Zuma's rape trial

In 2006, a year before the ANC's Polokwane conference at which Zuma was pegged as the frontrunner for president of the ANC, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo accused him of rape. Kuzwayo, known throughout the trial by the alias "Khwezi", was 31 years old at the time, and her father had been a close friend of Zuma, serving prison time with him on Robben Island.

Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges, but claimed that he'd had consensual sex with Kuzwayo. He was acquitted of all charges after a lengthy court battle, during which pro-Zuma supporters in and outside the court terrorised and vilified his accuser, who was forced into exile after the trial.

During the trial, Zuma was ridiculed for admitting that he took a shower after having sex with Kuzwayo, who was HIV-positive, as a preventative measure to avoid contracting the virus — this was the origin of the shower head that ever after adorned his caricature in Zapiro cartoons. Kuzwayo died in 2016.

ALEXANDER JOE via Getty Images
Zuma supporters outside the court in 2006 waiting to hear the outcome of Zuma's trial for rape.

The R246-million Nkandla upgrade

In 2009, the Mail & Guardian first broke the story about massive renovations to Zuma's Nkandla estate. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela took up the case and found that R246-million in taxpayers' money was used for upgrading the homestead.

Proper tender processes weren't followed at any stage, contrary to Treasury regulations. In 2016, the Constitutional Court found that Zuma failed to comply with Madonsela's remedial action, which was tantamount to him breaking his oath of office. He was instructed to pay back R7.8-million.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
A general view of the home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla.

State capture

Zuma is at the centre of state-capture allegations centred on his relationship with the controversial Gupta family.

Madonsela's "State Of Capture" report — along with information in emails leaked from within the Gupta business empire — reveal that Zuma may have taken instruction from the Guptas on the appointing and removal of Cabinet ministers to advance the family's business interests.

The allegations suggest that Zuma sacked former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene on instruction from the Guptas. Zuma replaced Nene with the little-known Des van Rooyen, who was placed at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold several times ahead of his appointment.

Sowetan via Getty Images
EFF marchers outside the Constitutional Court on February 9, 2016.

Zuma allegedly also ignored allegations by former Cabinet members Mcebisi Jonas and Vytjie Mentor that they had been offered ministerial positions by the Guptas.

It is also believed that Zuma played a role in appointing Gupta-aligned members on the boards of various state-owned enterprises, from which the Guptas then gained various multimillion-rand contracts.

A judicial commission of inquiry is now investigating the state-capture allegations.