South Africa’s Zuma: a rocky presidency
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, in power since 2009, resigned on Wednesday after being under pressure to quit before the official end of his term in mid-2019.
Here are some of the key dates of his presidency.
– 2009: First Zulu president –
As the leader of the majority African National Congress, Zuma is elected president by parliament on May 6, 2009 after the party’s victory at general elections.
South Africa’s first Zulu president, he is sworn in three days later.
Zuma became ANC leader in late 2007, ousting ex-president Thabo Mbeki, who had fired him as vice president two years earlier following corruption accusations.
– 2012: Marikana massacre –
In August 2012 police shoot dead 34 striking miners in the northern town of Marikana, in the worst violence involving the security forces since the end of apartheid.
The massacre shocks South Africa and shakes confidence in the nation’s post-racial settlement in a turning point for Zuma’s government.
It sparks a violent wave of strikes in the mines in which around 60 are killed.
In a sign of his waning popularity, Zuma is booed at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in 2013.
– 2016: Corruption allegations –
Reelected by parliament in 2014 after the ANC wins general elections, Zuma suffers a serious setback in March 2016 when South Africa’s top court says he flouted the constitution and used public funds to upgrade his private residence.
He agrees to pay back some of the money.
In August he is blamed for an electoral debacle when the ANC registers its worst result at municipal elections since democracy in 1994. The revolt reaches the party’s highest ranks.
In November South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog calls for prosecutors to investigate charges that Zuma allowed the Guptas, a wealthy Indian business family, undue influence over government.
– 2017: Turbulence –
Zuma sacks finance minister and rival Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet purge in March 2017, stirring animosity among senior ANC leaders.
Tens of thousands demonstrate in April to call for his resignation.
In August deputies vote against a no-confidence motion against Zuma, the fourth since 2015, by a relatively tight margin.
In December vice president Cyril Ramaphosa is elected ANC chief over Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She is accused by opponents of wanting to shield her ex-husband from justice.
– 2018: The End of Zuma –
Faced with mounting scandals and legal processes, Zuma is forced by a court in early January 2018 to appoint an investigation into corruption at the highest levels of the state.
After Ramaphosa’s victory, there are increasing calls from within the ANC for Zuma’s departure to preserve the party’s chances of winning the 2019 presidential election.
He resists, leading the party to announce on February 13, 2018 that it has decided to “recall” him.
On February 14, in a televised address to the nation, Zuma announces he has resigned his office with immediate effect.