Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma
In office
9 May 2009 – 14 February 2018
Preceded byKgalema Motlanthe
Succeeded byCyril Ramaphosa
Personal details
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

(1942-04-12) April 12, 1942 (age 79)
CitizenshipSouth African
NationalitySouth Africa
  • Former President of the Republic of South Africa

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is a South African politician who served as the fourth democratically elected President of South Africa from the 2009 general election until his resignation on 14 February 2018.

On 28 June 2021, he became the first former South African leader sentenced to prison for 15 months for defying a court order to appear before a corruption inquiry looking into scandals during his time in office.[1]



Jacob Zuma was born on April 12 1942 in Nkandla, South Africa.[2]


Zuma has been married six times to: Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Kate Mansho, Nompumelelo Ntuli, Thobeka Stacie Madiba and Gloria Bongekile Ngema.

Jacob Zuma has four wives; Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, Nompumelelo Ntuli, Thobeka Stacie Madiba and Gloria Bongekile Ngema.[3][4]


Zuma is estimated to have between 20-22 children in total. Fifteen with his spouses, and between 5-7 with other lovers.[3]

For a complete list of Jacob Zuma's children please see: Jacob Zuma Children.


Zuma received no formal schooling.[2]

Role In Fight Against Apartheid

He joined the ANC in 1959 and its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), in 1962. He was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on Robben Island for conspiring to overthrow South Africa’s apartheid government.

After his release, Zuma set up underground networks to recruit for Umkhonto we Sizwe. In 1975 Zuma fled the country to escape arrest. For more than a decade, he continued to work for the ANC while based in neighbouring countries—first in Swaziland and then in Mozambique. He became a member of the ANC’s national executive committee in 1977.

After the government of South Africa exerted pressure on Mozambique, Zuma was forced to leave the latter country in 1987. He then went to ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, where he served as head of underground structures (organizational units) and head of the intelligence department.[2]


Career As President

Zuma served as president of South Africa from 2009 until he resigned under pressure on 14 February 2018. In a televised statement he said he was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with his ANC party's decision.

The ANC had told him to step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament. Zuma's resignation came after a meeting of the ANC's National Executive Committee had announced its decision to recall him and gave him an ultimatum to resign.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu then announced a parliamentary motion of no-confidence, with Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as president as soon as possible after that.

On the day Zuma announced his resignation, the police had raided the Johannesburg home of his close associates, the wealthy, Indian-born Gupta family.[5]

Career As Deputy President

He also had served as South Africa’s deputy president (1999–2005).

Zuma was widely expected to eventually succeed Mbeki as president of the ANC and as president of South Africa.

In June 2005, however, Mbeki dismissed him after the fraud and corruption conviction of one of Zuma’s close colleagues, businessman Schabir Shaik. The judge, in that case, found that there was a generally corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma, who was subsequently charged with two counts of corruption.

Zuma initially recused himself from all ANC activities, but the ANC national general council defied Mbeki by reinstating him as an active member and, eventually, as ANC deputy president.[2]


He joined the ANC in 1959.

When the South African government’s ban on the ANC was lifted in 1990, Zuma returned to the country and was elected chairperson of the Southern Natal region.

He became ANC deputy general secretary in 1991, and in 1994 he became a member of the executive committee for economic affairs and tourism in the newly created province of KwaZulu-Natal. In December 1997 he was elected deputy president of the ANC, and in June 1999 he was appointed deputy president of the country by Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma served as deputy president (1997–2007) and president (2007–17) of the African National Congress (ANC).[2]

Rape Charge

Jacob Zuma was acquitted of a 2005 rape charge where he admitted having unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser.[6]

Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, known to the South African public only as Khwezi to protect her identity, alleged South African president raped her died aged 41.[7]

Khwezi accused him of rape after they had unprotected sex at his home in November 2005, but a judge ruled on 8 May 2006 that the encounter was consensual. During the trial, Zuma had said taking a shower after having intercourse with the woman had reduced the risk of transmission.

Judge Willem Van der Merwe said he had difficulty accepting the prosecution's version of the sexual encounter and rejected the accuser's argument that she saw Zuma as a father figure.

He said she could have left immediately after the alleged rape but chose to stay the night and wandered around Zuma's house for more than an hour the next morning, making herself food and using the phone before leaving for work.

The judge also said she had a history of making rape claims that turned out to be false and that he did not believe Mr Zuma would risk raping her when a police guard and his daughter were nearby.[8]

Arms Deal

Zuma pleaded not guilty to corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges relating to a 1999 arms deal when he was deputy president. He was accused of accepting 500,000 rand annually from French arms company Thales, in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into the $2 billion deal following whistle-blower revelations by a lawmaker in parliament in 1999.

The alleged bribe forms part of a broader corrupt relationship the state argues existed between Zuma, his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik and his firm Nkobi Group, as well as Thales. Nkobi Group was the local joint venture partner to Thales, then known as Thompson-CSF, which was part of a consortium that won a 2.6 billion rand bid to provide combat suites for new navy frigates.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) initially filed the charges against Zuma but set them aside shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009. Following appeals and lobbying by opposition parties, the NPA reinstated the charges in March 2018, a month after the African National Congress (ANC) party forced him out of office.

Thales said it had no knowledge of any transgressions by any of its employees in relation to the award of the contracts. Its representative in court also pleaded not guilty to the racketeering, corruption and money laundering charges the company faced.[9][6]

Gupta Family

The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him – three brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – to plunder state resources and influence policy.

The Guptas, who denied any wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was removed from power. Zuma walked out of the inquiry in November 2020 without permission. Its officials then approached the Constitutional Court to make him reappear and testify.

A lawyer for the inquiry, Paul Pretorius, said Zuma had been implicated by the evidence of at least 40 witnesses.[10]

Zondo Commission of Inquiry

Jacob Zuma staged a walkout at the commission investigating corruption during his tenure after failing in his legal bid to get the panel’s chairman, Raymond Zondo, to step aside.

Zuma was set to take the witness stand after the ruling on Thursday 19 November 2020, but he left despite appearing under a summons.

Seeking what he called an “impartial” judge, Zuma had accused Judge Raymond Zondo of bias and demanded he recuse himself.

But Zondo rejected the application, saying it “failed to meet the test for a reasonable apprehension of bias”.

Zuma was summoned to respond to questions related to evidence contained in at least 34 affidavits submitted to the commission. Lavish government contracts were awarded to an Indian business family, the Guptas, among other scandals.

In November 2020, Zuma appeared before the commission for the first time in more than a year after abandoning his testimony in 2019.

Zuma pulled out after a few days, saying he was being treated as an “accused” rather than as a witness.

Since then he has not testified again, citing health concerns or his preparation for another corruption case related to a 1990s arms deal.[11]

Jail Sentence

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry asked the Constitutional Court to impose a jail term on Zuma after he defied an order to appear before the inquiry on Monday 15 February 2021.

Zuma’s lawyers said their client “would not be appearing before the commission” which had set aside February 15 to 19 for his testimony. In the two-page “matter of courtesy” letter, Zuma’s lawyers concluded that his refusal to testify should not be “construed to suggest any defiance of a legal process”.[10]

Zuma was ordered to appear before the corruption inquiry led by Raymond Zondo. He not only failed to show up to testify but also ignored the Constitutional Court's contempt proceedings entirely.

On 28 June 2021, he became the first former South African leader sentenced to prison for 15 months for defying a court order to appear before a corruption inquiry looking into scandals during his time in office.

Zuma was given five days to surrender or face arrest.[1]

On 2 July 2021, Zuma's legal team filed papers two days before the deadline to hand himself over to the police. They claimed 15 months in prison will endanger his health. An urgent High Court application was filed in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal seeking an immediate suspension of the execution and operation of the 15-month imprisonment judgement against Jacob Zuma. He also sought a recession of the imprisonment judgement in the Constitutional Court.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zarrin Ahmed, Jacob Zuma becomes first former South African leader sentenced to prison, UPI, Published: June 29, 2021, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Martin Legassick, Jacob Zuma, Britannica, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 Just how many wives does Jacob Zuma have, and who are they?, The South African, Published: October 5, 2017, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  4. Zuma new wife: The photos of all Jacob Zuma's wives and each one's story, Briefly, Published: June 19, 2019, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  5. South Africa's Jacob Zuma resigns after pressure from party, BBC, Published: February 15, 2018, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 Further delay in South Africa ex-President Zuma corruption trial, Al Jazeera, Published: May 17, 2021, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  7. 'Khwezi', the woman who accused Jacob Zuma of rape, dies, The Guardian, Published: October 10, 2016, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  8. Jacob Zuma cleared of rape, The Guardian, Published: May 8, 2006, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  9. Jacob Zuma pleads not guilty to arms deal corruption charges, Al Jazeera, Published: May 26, 2021, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  10. 10.0 10.1 S Africa: Zuma could face jail after corruption inquiry snub, Al Jazeera, Published: February 15, 2021, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  11. South Africa’s ex-president Zuma walks out on graft commission, Al Jazeera, Published: November 19, 2020, Retrieved: June 29, 2021
  12. Zuma fights prison sentence, eNCA, Published: July 2, 2021, Retrieved: July 2, 2021