Zuma Challenged, South Africa Responds

12/7/16 | Jacob Straub | Regular Correspondent

On the Surface

Since South African president Jacob Zuma’s election in 2009, years of turmoil have left public opinion decisively against him. Members of the African National Congress, along with members of Zuma’s own cabinet, have urged him to step down. Critics claim that Zuma’s poor leadership will harm the party’s chances in upcoming elections.

Zuma’s Administration

Zuma’s administration has been tainted by economic woes. Most recently, unemployment reached an unprecedented rate of 27 percent. Additionally, president Zuma is facing a potential downgrade of South Africa’s national credit by international agencies. As a result, Zuma has faced criticism from many party members thoughout his presidency. Now, party leaders have joined the cause after big loses in recent local elections.


Members of the African National Congress met on November 28th to discuss the party and Zuma’s future. Zuma still has many loyalists in the 104 member committee and no direct action was taken. However, dissent seems to be growing. The meeting made it clear that divisions have deepened between Zuma and his cabinet.

For the time being, Jacob Zuma is safe from a vote of no confidence due to a lack of support. But if economic issues continue to divide the party, Zuma could face removal from office before the next election.

Onishi, Norimitsu. “President Jacob Zuma of South Africa Faces Leadership Challenge.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

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