Finally, the rule of South African President Jacob Zuma appears to be in its endgame, with the divisive leader now in talks with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa over the transfer of power. Over the past weeks, Zuma’s position had become tenuous, with Ramaphosa already replacing him as leader of the influential African National Congress (ANC). But if one thing is for certain, the transfer of power will not be complete until Zuma has well and truly stepped aside, and he has proven to be a man with well-honed powers of evasion, avoidance and conviction at his disposal.
Throughout the nine years of his turbulent presidency, Zuma has avoided a series of corruption charges and influence-peddling allegations that have dogged his administration and ministers. Under his rule, the ANC has lost credibility on a steady basis. And throughout, Zuma’s leadership has appeared to fail South Africans, wasting the potential of a nation that has serious issues when it comes to unemployment, poverty and crime.
Opposition parties are demanding a vote of confidence in Zuma, and Ramaphosa and the president are in direct talks — the first very real indications that the president is preparing to step aside. The ANC describes those direct talks as fruitful and constructive, and a previously planned meeting on his fate has been pushed back until February 17. It’s already been a remarkable week, with Zuma’s State of the Union address that was supposed to occur last Thursday being postponed for now as events unfold. The end of Zuma’s misrule does certainly appear to be nigh — but only time will tell.