The People’s Choice: Zuma Fit To Govern

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma was elected president of South Africa in 2009.

In 2007, he won the presidency of the African National Congress, South Africa’s National Liberation Movement, which established in 1912.

President Zuma was born in Nkandla (Natal Province), South Africa, on April 12, 1942.
Zuma had served as deputy president of South Africa from 1999 to 2005.

The road to the ANC presidency started long ago for Zuma. He was born in a part of South Africa now known as KwaZulu-Natal (once Zululand) and became politically active at a young age.

Jacob Zuma’s father died at the end of World War II, after which his mother took up employment as a domestic worker in Durban. He spent his childhood moving between Zululand and the suburbs of Durban, and by age 15 took on odd jobs to supplement his mother’s income.

With no time for school, he taught himself how to read and write. His triumph over his early struggles makes Zuma an appealing figure to many South Africans.

Influenced by a trade unionist family member, Zuma joined the ANC, a Liberation Movement that stood against the country’s practice of Apartheid—or racial segregation—and other discriminatory policies of the colonial era.

Forced to go underground after the 1960 bannings, the ANC, which had long been a nonviolent group, developed a militant wing in the early 1960s. Known as Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the new militant group undertook acts of sabotage against the government.

Zuma joined the group in 1962 and was arrested the next year with 45 other members and soon was convicted of conspiracy.

Zuma also joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1963.

Sentenced to 10 years in prison, he served his time in the infamous Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela, the country’s future president, was also imprisoned for many years.

Whilst imprisoned, Zuma served as a refree for prisoners’ association football games, organised by the prisoners’ own governing body, Makana Football Association.

After his release in 1973, Zuma continued working for the ANC and played an essential role in building the underground organization’s infrastructure in KwaZulu Natal.

Zuma first left South Africa in 1975 and landed in Swaziland, and then proceeded to Mozambique, where he dealt with the arrival of thousands of exiles in the wake of the Soweto Uprisings.

He was elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee in 1977. Holding a number of ANC posts over the next decade, he established a reputation as loyal and hard working.

Zuma also served as Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC in Mozambique, a post he occupied until the signing of the Nkomati Accord between the Mozambican and South African governments in 1984.

After signing the Accord, Zuma was appointed as Chief Representative of the ANC.

He served on the ANC’s political and military council when it was formed in the mid-1980s, and was elected to the politburo of the SACP on April 1990.

And in January 1987, Zuma was forced to leave another country, this time by the government of Mozambique (due to security treats).

Zuma then moved to the ANC Head Office in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was appointed Head of Underground Structures and shortly thereafter Chief of the Intelligence Department of the ANC.

Following the end of the ban on the ANC in February 1990, Zuma was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin the process of negotiations.

In 1990, he was elected Chairperson of the ANC for the Southern Natal region, and took a leading role in fighting political violence in the region between members of the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). He was elected the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC the next year at the ANC December National Conference, and in January 1994, he was nominated as the ANC candidate for the Premiership of KwaZulu-Natal.

Zuma had experience in national leadership, as he started serving in the National Executive committee of the ANC in 1977 when the party was still a guerrilla movement. By the time he became its president he had served the ANC for thirty years. After the 1994 general election, with the ANC becoming a governing organisation but having lost KwaZulu-Natal province to the IFP, Zuma was appointed as Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Economic Affairs and Tourism for the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, after stepping aside to allow Thabo Mbeki to run unopposed for deputy presidency of South Africa.

In December 1994, he was elected National Chairperson of the ANC and chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, and was re-elected to the latter position in 1996. He was elected Deputy President of the ANC at the National Conference held at Mafikeng in December 1997 and consequently appointed executive Deputy President of South Africa in June 1999.

In terms of party tradition, as the deputy president of the ANC, Zuma was already in line to succeed Thabo Mbeki, who by now was President of South Africa.

The ANC structures held their nominations conferences in October and November 2007, where Zuma appeared favourite for the post of ANC President, and, by implication, the President of South Africa in 2009.

With then-incumbent ANC- and South African President Thabo Mbeki as his opposition, Zuma was elected President of the ANC on 18 December 2007.

After the general election in 2009, Zuma became the President of South Africa.

And at the December 2012 National Conference, Zuma was re-elected as President of the ANC.

Furthermore, in keeping with the results-driven approach of its Patron, the Jacob Zuma Foundation strives to respond effectively, efficiently and within its valued accountability, to the needs of beneficiary communities.

“A hungry child cannot be expected to concentrate and do well in class.” Jacob Zuma

The Jacob Zuma Foundation prides itself on its ethics, integrity and credibility and is respected both locally and internationally for its commitment to the socio-economic upliftment of the poor. The Foundation is committed to broadening its network of donor partners to enable life-changing upliftment of impoverished South Africans.

Meanwhile, the Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust was formed in 1995 by its Patron, His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, who was a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal at that time.

Using an RDP Discretionary Fund of R500 000, which was provided to each MEC to establish a project of his/her choice, Mr Zuma opted to focus his attention on providing access to education for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and youth in society.  This focus on education was as a result of his firm belief in education being the most real and sustainable form of empowerment.

The Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust started its work in KwaZulu-Natal, and has since extended its footprints to the Eastern Cape and the Limpopo Provinces.  It strategic objective is to extend its reach to the rest of South Africa within the next three to five years.

The Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising representatives from the private sector, former beneficiaries of the Trust and academics.  The day-to-day operations are managed by a team led by the Chief Executive Officer, with offices in Durban, Inkandla, East London, Polokwane and Johannesburg.

Over the years, the Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust has benefited over 20 000 young people.  Currently, it is supporting 1200 young people at tertiary and basic education levels.

The Trust depends, mainly, on donations and sponsorships to advance its objectives. It has forged strategic partnerships with organizations such as Cipla South Africa, Camac International Corporation and MerSeta on educational matters of common interest.  The Trust has a policy of utilizing a least 80% of all money raised towards its core business and 20% or less towards its operations.  On a yearly basis, it is audited by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC).

Since coming into office in 2009 President Zuma has created key programmes, policies and enjoyed a fair amount of successes, including South Africa’s inclusion in the group of the fastest growing economies of the world, BRIC, now known as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

The Zuma government has also initiated the New Growth Path (NGP),  a new framework for economic policy and the driver of the country’s jobs strategy.

Other’s are the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), IPAP is predicated on the need to bring about significant structural change to the South African economy; and the big one, the National Developement Plan (NDP), Vision 2030, the NDP offers a long-term perspective. It defines a desired destination and identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching that goal.

“The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.”

Both the NGP and IPAP have been included in the National Development Plan.

Zuma’s educational history, Tertiary, University of Zululand Awarded in 2001 Honorary Doctor of Administration; University of Fort Hare Awarded in 2001, Honorary Doctor of Literature/Letters; University of  Medicine of South Africa Awarded in 2001, Honorary Doctor of Philosophy and Peking University Beijing, China, Awarded in July 2012 Honorary Professor of International Relation.

Achievements & Awards include the King Hintsa Bravery Award in 2012; Jose Marti Award in 2010, Cuba’s highest award; African President of the Year by the African Consciousness Media and the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation in 2009; and the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership in 1998.

Activities & Memberships include Umkhonto We Sizwe
Active Member, 1962 – 1990;  African National Congress
Member, 1959 – present; Albert Luthuli Education and Development Foundation as Patron; Peace and Reconstruction Foundation as Patron; Jacob Zuma Bursary Fund at Patron, 1998 – present; and the Moral Regeneration Movement as Patron.

And as the leader of the ANC, Zuma is the party’s prime candidate for the presidency in South Africa’s 2014 Wednesday May 7 elections.



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