Curtain comes down on Zuma after scandalous tenure

While Jacob Zuma continues to serve as president of the country, he’s about to revert to being an ordinary member of the ANC.

FILE: ANC President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The start of the African National Congress’s (ANC) 54th national conference also signals the end of an era – with the curtain coming down on President Jacob Zuma’s 10 years at the helm of the world’s oldest liberation movement.

While Zuma continues to serve as president of the country, he’s about to revert to being an ordinary member of the ANC.

Zuma swept to power at Polokwane hailed as a ‘people’s president’, replacing the aloof and detached Thabo Mbeki.

Before long, millions of South Africans were getting the treatment for HIV/Aids they’d been denied under Mbeki’s rule.

But it took almost no time for Zuma to become embroiled in the first of the multiple scandals that have marred his tenure and scarred the image of the ANC.

He failed to declare his interests on time and impregnated the daughter of a close friend and comrade. He stood by while nearly a quarter a billion of rand of taxpayers’ money was spent on his private Nkandla home.

In August 2012, came the massacre of mineworkers at Marikana.

But it is Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family and the evidence that’s emerged of industrial-scale looting that has driven the ANC onto the rocks of public opinion, putting it at risk of an electoral beating come 2019.

Zuma promised to unify the party after his bruising battle with Mbeki but the movement is more divided than ever.
Knitting it together again will be the daunting task of whoever succeeds him.

GALLERY: ANC national conference in pictures

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)