Who is former South African President Jacob Zuma?
SOUTH AFRICA is experiencing a wave of rioting, spurred by the imprisonment of their former President – but who is Jacob Zuma?
After Jacob Zuma handed himself up to police on July 8, looting and violence erupted across South Africa. The former president will now begin serving a 15-month sentence in prison. As a result of his incarceration, shops have been looted, buildings have been set on fire, and at least 500 people have been imprisoned and six killed, resulting in a fatal wave of unrest across the country.
Mr Zuma was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of contempt of court for failing to appear before a corruption investigation during his presidency.
Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing, and rioting and violence have erupted in protest of his imprisonment.
Police have accused protestors of profiting from the turmoil, and looting and violence have erupted across the country, particularly in Johannesburg.
”What we are witnessing now are opportunistic acts of criminality, with gangs of people creating disorder only as a cover for looting and theft,” stated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Acts of public violence of a nature rarely witnessed in our democracy’s history,” he continued.
He urged South Africans to “stand against violence” in response to his predecessor’s imprisonment.
Between 2009 and 2018, Mr Zuma, 79, served as President of South Africa for nine years.
He didn’t have an easy childhood; he was born into a poor rural family in Nkandla, Natal Province, and his father died when he was five years old, leaving him without a formal education.
Mr Zuma was formerly a well-known politician with a reputation as a former freedom fighter, having been imprisoned for ten years in 1963 for opposing South Africa’s discriminatory apartheid system.
He fled into exile in 1975 after his release, becoming the spymaster of the African National Congress.
In 1990, he returned to South Africa and quickly rose through the political ranks, eventually becoming president in 2009.
However, he has now had a massive fall from favor.
Mr Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison by the South African Constitutional Court in early July.
He received this sentence after he disobeyed an order to appear in front of a “Brinkwire Summary News” reporter.