South African president dismisses deputy on implications of corruption

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 File:JacobZuma.jpg

Jacob Zuma (file)
(Image missing from commons: image; log)


Today at about 1600 UTC/GMT, South African President Thabo Mbeki announced in a special session of parliament that he has taken action he feels is necessary, that is to "release [his deputy president], Jacob Zuma, from his responsibilities as deputy president of the republic and member of the cabinet".

Zuma was implicated in corruption arising from his relationship with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of corruption and fraud earlier this month. Shaik was found guilty by Durban High Court of two counts of corruption and one of fraud and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

The President has called this one of his toughest decisions. Opposition leader of the Democratic Alliance immediately praised the president for holding "principle over politics", and, while deeply saddened, former president Nelson Mandela supported Mbeki's decision. Jacob Zuma was the favourite of the ruling African National Congress party to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president.

Following this ordeal, the government of South Africa has reaffirmed its dedication to the reduction and eventual elimination of corruption in all areas of politics.

UPDATE (July 7)

The African National Congress held a meeting of it's National General Council over the weekend of 2-3 July. Zuma attracted a lot of favourable attention, mostly from people who wished to defeat policy initiatives that included relaxing some of the legal constraints on employers. He was reinstated as ANC deputy president and, in a first for the party, granted a salary (details not revealed). It now appears that Jacob Zuma's political future is closely tied to that of the "left wing" of the ANC.


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