After weeks of anticipation the moment has finally arrived, Jacob Zuma is out!

In a late night media address tonight (14 February) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria he announced that he would be stepping down as President of South Africa.

Here is a brief look back at his time in SA politics.

Top J.Z. infamous quotes

  • “The Constitution is only there to regulate matters.”
  • “Why do you say I should pay back the money? You don’t even know how much.”
  • On how to fight HIV/Aids “[a shower]… would minimise the risk of contracting the disease.”
  • “Our media, which is very open and report on really everything, tend to exaggerate the crime issue…This is why one gets the impression that we have much more crime than other countries.”
  • “We have set a firm foundation to fight corruption… the most important thing is that we have a system to deal with it and, who comes to the net is not the issue, it could be anyone”
  • “Me? Well, I don’t know, I must go to a dictionary and learn what a crook is. I’ve never been a crook.”
  • “You have fewer rights because you are a minority. Absolutely, that’s how democracy works.”
  • “Same sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up, ‘ungqingili’ [homosexuals in isiZulu] could not stand in front of me, I would knock him out.”
  • “The ancestors will turn their backs against you and you will have bad luck forever if you leave the ANC unhappy”
  • “We want to eradicate all mud schools. We are already doing so. We are not in a hurry because no one is going to rule but the ANC.”
  • “There is no cloud above my head – there is not even a mist.”



Timeline of JZ’s life in SA politics: Source CNN

  • 1958 – Joins the African National Congress (ANC).
  • 1962 – Becomes a member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military arm of the ANC.
  • 1963 – Arrested with other Spear of the Nation members and convicted of conspiring to overthrow the South African government. Zuma spends 10 years in prison on Robben Island.
  • 1975 – Flees South Africa and lives in exile for 15 years in Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia and several other African countries, while continuing his work with the ANC.
  • February 1990 – President F. W. de Klerk lifts the ban on the ANC and other opposition groups. Zuma returns to South Africa.
  • 1990 – At the ANC’s first Regional Congress in KwaZulu-Natal province, Zuma is elected chairperson of the Southern Natal region and takes a leading role in fighting violence in the region. This results in peace accords between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party.
  • December 1994 – Is elected as the National Chairperson of the ANC.
  • 1997-2007 – Deputy President of the ANC.
  • October 1998 – Receives the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership.
  • 1999-2005 – Deputy President of South Africa.
  • June 2, 2005 – A South African court finds businessman Schabir Shaik guilty of bribing Zuma between 1995 and 2002.
  • June 14, 2005 – President Thabo Mbeki fires Zuma over his alleged involvement in the Shaik bribery scandal.
  • December 6, 2005 – Charged with raping a young female family friend; he claims the sex was consensual. He is acquitted on May 8, 2006.
  • September 5, 2006 – Brought to trial and charged with corruption for allegedly accepting bribes from French arms company Thint Holdings.
  • September 20, 2006 – The corruption charges are dismissed by the court after numerous extensions by prosecutors to build the state’s case.
  • December 18, 2007-present – President of the African National Congress
  • December 28, 2007 – New corruption charges are brought against Zuma, along with counts of racketeering and money laundering.
  • May 1, 2008 – Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.
  • September 12, 2008 – Corruption charges against Zuma are tossed out by the court a second time, this time on procedural grounds.
  • January 12, 2009 – The Supreme Court of Appeal overturns the lower court ruling that threw out corruption charges against Zuma, stating that the ruling was riddled with errors. This new ruling means that the National Prosecuting Authority can press new charges against Zuma.
  • April 6, 2009 – Prosecutors drop all corruption charges against Zuma.
  • April 26, 2009 – The African National Congress wins a majority of votes in South African elections, ensuring that Zuma will be the country’s next president.
  • May 9, 2009 – Inaugurated as President of South Africa.
  • February 2010 – Zuma admits to fathering a child out of wedlock with the daughter of the head of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee.
  • December 2010 – Zuma files a $700,000 defamation lawsuit over a 2008 political cartoon which portrays him raping a female figure symbolizing justice.
  • March 20, 2012 – The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that the Democratic Alliance (an opposition party) can challenge a previous court’s decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.
  • December 18, 2012 – Zuma is re-elected as head of the ANC.
  • May 7, 2014 – Zuma secures a second term as president, with the ANC winning a majority of votes.
  • March 31, 2016 – The South African Constitutional Court rules that Zuma defied the constitution when he used 246 million rand ($15 million) in state funds to upgrade his private home. The court says Zuma must repay money spent on renovations unrelated to security.
  • April 29, 2016 – A South African court rules that prosecutors acted “irrationally” when they decided to drop more than 700 corruption and fraud charges against Zuma in 2009. The court says the decision should be set aside and reviewed. It remains up to prosecutors whether to reinstate the charges.
  • November 2, 2016 – A report containing corruption allegations against Zuma is published. The 355-page “State of Capture” report contains allegations, and in some instances evidence, of cronyism, questionable business deals and ministerial appointments, and other possible large-scale corruption at the very top of government. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.
  • November 10, 2016 – Zuma avoids a vote of no-confidence in parliament, with 214 votes against the motion, 126 for and 58 abstentions. It’s the third time Zuma has faced such a vote in less than a year. The Democratic Alliance brought the motion of no confidence to parliament in an attempt to remove the president amid charges of corruption.
  • November 29, 2016 – Members of the ANC say that Zuma will not step down as president, despite calls from people within his own party to resign.
  • August 8, 2017 – A motion of no-confidence in Zuma is defeated by 198 votes to 177. Even though the ballot is held in parliament by secret vote, the opposition is not able to persuade enough members of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress to side with them.
  • October 13, 2017 – South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upholds an April 2016 ruling by the High Court to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma.
  • December 2017  – Voted out as ANC president
  • February 14 2018 –  Resigns as South African president

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