South Africa: Zuma's Conveniently Forgotten Nine Wasted Years

Left: Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Centre: Former president Jacob Zuma. Right: President Cyril Ramaphosa.
analysis

On Tuesday, former president Jacob Zuma tweeted a thousand-word statement defending his legacy. More to the point, he said his term in office had not been "nine wasted years". He also made comments that are fairly critical of the Gauteng ANC, to the effect that if he had been able to campaign in that province in 2016, the party would not have lost Joburg and Tshwane. His statement, its timing, its meaning and its intent, all raise serious questions.

This is one of the few times that Jacob Zuma has come out publicly to defend his track-record as president. It certainly appears to be the first time he has done this in the form of a written statement. While he has given speeches in the past, and made certain comments at political gatherings, issuing a statement of this kind, in English, is unlike his previous behaviour. The last former president to do this was, of course, Thabo Mbeki, who published a series of newsletters on Facebook defending his time in office.

The context of this statement may be important. Zuma appeared to elicit a large cheer from the crowd during the ANC's January 8th Statement event in Durban earlier this...

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