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Jacob Zuma Fast Facts

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Here’s a look at the life of Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa. Zuma survived at least half a dozen no-confidence votes during his presidency.

Personal

Birth date: April 12, 1942

Birth place: Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

Birth name: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

Father: Gcinamazwi Zuma, police officer

Mother: Nobhekisisa Bessie, domestic worker

Marriages: Bongi Ngema (2012-present); Thobeka Stacy Mabhija (2010-present); Nompumelelo Ntuli (2008-present); Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini (1982-1998, divorced); Kate Mantsho Zuma (1976-2000, her death); Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo Zuma (1973-present)

Children: Reportedly has more than 20 children

ANC Work and Exile

1958 - Joins the African National Congress (ANC).

1962 - Becomes a member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military arm of the ANC.

1963 - Arrested with other Spear of the Nation members and convicted of conspiring to overthrow the South African government. Zuma spends 10 years in prison on Robben Island.

1975 - Flees South Africa and lives in exile for 15 years in Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia and several other African countries, while continuing his work with the ANC.

February 1990 - President F. W. de Klerk lifts the ban on the ANC and other opposition groups. Zuma returns to South Africa.

ANC Leadership and Corruption Charges

1990 - At the ANC’s first Regional Congress in KwaZulu-Natal province, Zuma is elected chairperson of the Southern Natal region and takes a leading role in fighting violence in the region. This results in peace accords between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

December 1994 - Is elected as the National Chairperson of the ANC.

1997-2007 - Deputy President of the ANC.

October 1998 - Receives the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership.

1999-2005 - Deputy President of South Africa.

June 2, 2005 - A South African court finds businessman Schabir Shaik guilty of bribing Zuma between 1995 and 2002.

June 14, 2005 - President Thabo Mbeki fires Zuma over his alleged involvement in the Shaik bribery scandal.

December 6, 2005 - Charged with raping a young female family friend; he claims the sex was consensual. He is acquitted on May 8, 2006.

September 5, 2006 - Brought to trial and charged with corruption for allegedly accepting bribes from French arms company Thint Holdings.

September 20, 2006 - The corruption charges are dismissed by the court after numerous extensions by prosecutors to build the state’s case.

2007-2017 - President of the ANC.

December 28, 2007 - New corruption charges are brought against Zuma, along with counts of racketeering and money laundering.

May 1, 2008 - Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

September 12, 2008 - Corruption charges against Zuma are tossed out by the court a second time, this time on procedural grounds.

January 12, 2009 - The Supreme Court of Appeal overturns the lower court ruling that threw out corruption charges against Zuma, stating that the ruling was riddled with errors. This new ruling means that the National Prosecuting Authority can press new charges against Zuma.

April 6, 2009 - Prosecutors drop all corruption charges against Zuma.

Presidency and Resignation

April 26, 2009 - The ANC wins a majority of votes in South African elections, ensuring that Zuma will be the country’s next president.

May 9, 2009 - Inaugurated as president of South Africa.

February 2010 - Zuma admits to fathering a child out of wedlock with the daughter of the head of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee.

December 2010 - Zuma files a $700,000 defamation lawsuit over a 2008 political cartoon which portrays him raping a female figure symbolizing justice.

March 20, 2012 - The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that the Democratic Alliance (an opposition party) can challenge a previous court’s decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.

May 7, 2014 - Zuma secures a second term as president, with the ANC winning a majority of votes.

March 31, 2016 - The South African Constitutional Court rules that Zuma defied the constitution when he used 246 million rand ($15 million) in state funds to upgrade his private home. The court says Zuma must repay money spent on renovations unrelated to security.

April 29, 2016 - A South African court rules that prosecutors acted “irrationally” when they decided to drop more than 700 corruption and fraud charges against Zuma in 2009. The court says the decision should be set aside and reviewed. It remains up to prosecutors whether to reinstate the charges.

November 2, 2016 - A report containing corruption allegations against Zuma is published. The 355-page “State of Capture” report contains allegations, and in some instances evidence, of cronyism, questionable business deals and ministerial appointments, and other possible large-scale corruption at the very top of government. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

November 10, 2016 - Zuma avoids a vote of no-confidence in parliament, with 214 votes against the motion, 126 for and 58 abstentions. It’s the third time Zuma has faced such a vote in less than a year. The Democratic Alliance brought the motion of no confidence to parliament in an attempt to remove the president amid charges of corruption.

November 29, 2016 - Members of the ANC say that Zuma will not step down as president, despite calls from people within his own party to resign.

August 8, 2017 - A motion of no-confidence in Zuma is defeated by 198 votes to 177. Even though the ballot is held in parliament by secret vote, the opposition is not able to persuade enough members of Zuma’s ruling ANC to side with them.

October 13, 2017 - South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upholds an April 2016 ruling by the High Court to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma.

February 13, 2018 - The ANC announces a “recall” of Zuma, demanding that he resign.

February 14, 2018 - Zuma resigns.

Charges and Prison Sentence

March 16, 2018 - South Africa’s national prosecuting authority announces that Zuma will be charged with 16 counts of corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

February 4, 2020 - A South African judge issues Zuma an arrest warrant after he fails to appear to face charges in his long-running corruption case.

February 2021 - A South African inquiry into high-level graft allegations against Zuma from 2009 to 2018, is asking that the former president be imprisoned for two years, after he ignored a court summons to appear and give testimony. In the constitutional court’s application seen by Reuters, the “state capture” inquiry seeks an order to hold Zuma in contempt of court. Zuma denies the allegations and has refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

June 29, 2021 - South Africa’s highest court finds Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentences him to 15 months in prison.

July 3, 2021 - South Africa’s top court agrees to hear Zuma’s application for a review of their decision. In the application, Zuma and his lawyers claim that the 15-month prison sentence threatens his life and that the constitutional court’s decision is unfair. The Constitutional Court hearing will take place on July 12.

July 4, 2021 - At a press conference at his homestead in Nkandla, Zuma likens his treatment to Apartheid-era detention without trial, saying, “Things like detention without trial should never again see the light of day in South Africa. The struggle for a free South Africa was a struggle for justice that everyone was treated equally before the law.”

July 7, 2021 - Zuma hands himself over to police to begin serving his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

August 6, 2021 - Is admitted to an outside hospital where he undergoes surgeries for an undisclosed ailment, according to prison authorities.

September 5, 2021 - The government’s correctional services department says Zuma has been released from prison on medical parole due to ill health.

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