South Africa’s beleaguered Zuma open to return to politics

Sep 26, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2022, 10:26 am
FILE - Former South African President Jacob Zuma at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Afric...

FILE - Former South African President Jacob Zuma at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on Jan. 31, 2022. Beleaguered Zuma has said he is ready to make a surprise return to politics by standing for a top leadership position at the ruling African National Congress' elective conference in December. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Beleaguered former South African President Jacob Zuma says he is ready to make a surprise return to politics by standing for a top position at the ruling African National Congress’ conference in December — if he is nominated by party members.

The 80-year-old Zuma was president from 2009 to 2018 before he was forced to resign amid wide-ranging allegations of corruption in government and state-owned institutions.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison last year for defying a court order to testify at a judicial commission investigating corruption during his tenure, and has since been released on medical parole.

Zuma is also facing trial for corruption in a separate case involving a major arms deal the South African government was negotiating more than 20 years ago, around the time Zuma was a deputy president of South Africa.

In a statement released late Monday, Zuma said some ANC members approached him to consider contesting the position of party chairman at the end of the year.

“I have indicated that I will be guided by the branches of the ANC and that I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organization again at that level or any other,” Zuma said.

The December meeting is expected to be crucial to the future of the ANC and current President Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces stiff opposition in getting reelected as party leader and staying on as the country’s president.

Zuma has been critical of his successor, and the pair are seen to be part of opposing factions within a divided ANC.

Zuma also endorsed his ex-wife, current government minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to stand for president of the ANC against Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa’s struggle to get a grip on corruption, a scandal of his own involving the theft of a large amount of cash from his ranch, and an ongoing electricity crisis that has recently left Africa’s most developed economy in power blackouts for up to 10 hours a day all have weakened his standing.

Parliament has formed a three-person panel to investigate if Ramaphosa has a case to answer in the ranch scandal, in which he is accused of money laundering and breaking foreign currency laws by holding cash in U.S. dollars at the property.

He also is accused of bribery for allegedly attempting to cover up the theft of the money to hide its existence. He has confirmed the theft took place and denied any wrongdoing but dodged questions seeking specific information about the incident. Ramaphosa said the money came from the sale of animals on his game farm.

No criminal charges have been brought against Ramaphosa, but Parliament could impeach him if lawmakers find he broke his oath of office. The South African leader is scheduled to appear in Parliament on Thursday to answer more questions from lawmakers about the on the theft.

Zuma is still popular among some factions of the ANC and at the grassroot level in some regions. It’s unclear how he would deal with an ANC rule that anyone facing criminal charges is ineligible to stand for leadership positions. The rule also demands that those occupying leadership positions should “step aside” from their positions if they are charged.

The corruption charges Zuma faces are linked to a 1999 arms deal, and the case covers a time when he was a political figure on the rise and then deputy president. He is accused of receiving bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales to provide political protection for the multi-billion dollar deal.

Zuma has denied the charges and has moved to have the prosecutor taken off the case, claiming he is biased.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

concede...
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

Republican Joe Kent's campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state's 3rd Congressional District.
16 hours ago
Gavel...
Associated Press

Case against man arrested in 1994 death of woman dismissed

Criminal charges against a man suspected in the 1994 murder of a Vancouver, Washington, woman have been dismissed.
16 hours ago
FILE - In this courtroom drawing, from left, Brandon Caserta with his attorney Michael Darragh Hill...
Associated Press

Prosecutors in Whitmer kidnap plot say life sentence fits

Federal prosecutors told a judge Monday that a life prison sentence would be justified for the leader of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying his goal to turn the country upside down in 2020 was a forerunner of rampant anti-government extremism. “If our elected leaders must live in fear, our representative government […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Norfolk Southern locomotives are moved in the in the Conway Terminal in Conway, Pa., Sept. 1...
Associated Press

Investors press railroads to add sick time for workers

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Major freight railroads are facing pressure to add sick days for their workers from a new front: An influential investment group says some of its members are now pushing the measure that Congress declined to as part of the contracts they imposed last week to avert a potentially devastating nationwide rail […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A bulldozer clears an area of forest that will be the line of the Mayan Train in Puerto More...
Associated Press

Mexico pledges to complete huge elevated train in one year

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s troubled Maya Train tourist project will now include a 45-mile (72 kilometer) stretch of elevated trackway through the jungle, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday. López Obrador has changed his mind a number of times on his pet project, which is intended to ferry tourists around the Yucatan peninsula. […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Global survey: workplace violence, harassment is widespread

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The first attempt to survey the extent of violence and harassment at work around the globe has found that workplace abuse is widespread, and particularly pronounced among young people, migrants, and wage earners, especially women. More than 22% of the nearly 75,000 workers in 121 countries surveyed last year reported having […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
South Africa’s beleaguered Zuma open to return to politics