Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma was the President of South Africa from May 9, 2009 until his resignation from office on February 14, 2018. He has been known to be very corrupt and amassed great wealth during his time in office, which has led many to try to know about him and his net worth.
Zuma was born on April 12, 1942 in Nkandla, South Africa. He was born into poverty but he rose to be a man of the people after his fight to end Apartheid in South Africa.
In 1959, Jacob Zuma joined the African National Congress (ANC), one of the leading political parties in South Africa, probably the largest political party in that country.
Jacob Zuma, after serving his prison sentence due to his involvement in a militant wing, rose up the ranks of the ANC and became the President of the party in 2007. He continued his excellent service to the party and two years after becoming the Party’s leader, he became President of South Africa.
Zuma has been known to court controversy almost always and has been involved in several legal scandals which borders on corruption and racketeering. He is a polygamist, and he has married six women till date and has 20 children.
Following several attempts by his political party, the ANC, to oust him from power, President Zuma announced his resignation from the presidency in February 2018.
Jacob Zuma Early Life and Background
Born into poverty, Zuma had little time to spend with his police officer father when he lost his dad at the age of four, and due to his father’s sudden demise, he had to help cater for his family at that tender age.
As little as he was, he did odd jobs to support his family with finance while his mother took up a job as a domestic worker. This greatly affected his education, as family needs became a priority rather than going to school, so he taught himself how to read and write.
Jacob Zuma Entry Into Politics
The ANC, during its early days had been a nonviolent group for a very long time but once they were forced to go underground, they developed a militant wing in the early 1960s.
This militant group was known as Umkhonto we Sizwe, and it undertook acts of sabotage against the government of the day. Zuma joined the group in 1962 and was arrested the next year with 45 other members and soon was convicted of conspiracy.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and he served his prison time in the infamous Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa, was also imprisoned for 27 years.
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.
After two years, he went into exile living in several different African nations. Jacob Zuma continued his dedication to the ANC and joined the party’s National Executive Committee in 1977.
After holding several key posts of the ANC for over ten years, Zuma established a reputation as loyal and hard working. After the ban on the ANC was lifted in 1990, Zuma returned to South Africa. He helped the party negotiate with the existing government led by F. W. de Klerk about political prisoners and the return of exiles.
In his native KwaZulu Natal, Zuma also worked to end the violence there. While he failed in his 1994 campaign to become premier of that province, Zuma is credited with establishing lasting peace in the region and became a member of the province’s Executive Committee of Economic Affairs and Tourism that year.
Within his own political party, he won the position of national chairperson of ANC as well as the party’s chairperson position for the KwaZulu Natal.
Jacob Zuma Rape and Corruption Charges
In 1999, Jacob Zuma, was named executive deputy president of South Africa by the then President Thabo Mbeki. This was shortly after Mbeki won the presidency.
Mbeki created a special unit at that time known as “the Scorpions” to investigate corruption. Later that year, the government of South-Africa announced that it had reached a deal to buy 29 million rand worth of strategic arms—planes, boats, helicopters and submarines.
Zuma was implicated in this deal for years. He and some other key members of the government were investigated when financial irregularities were discovered.
He was initially cleared in a 2001 report on the matter and he ended up facing corruption charges, but those charges were dropped in 2003.
Zuma’s legal woes resurfaced in 2005 after his financial advisor, Shabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption and fraud. Zuma was again charged with corruption for taking a bribe in connection with the 1999 arms deal. As a result, he was fired by President Thabo Mbeki.
Still in 2005, December precisely, Zuma was charged with r*ping a woman in his home but he pleaded not guilty. He stood on trial in Johannesburg for several months in early 2006. During the trial, Zuma was slammed for his ignorance about the transmission of HIV/AIDS.
His accuser was HIV positive and Zuma said that they had s*x without protection and that he showered afterwards to avoid getting the virus.
This news made the rounds for a country that has been battling a HIV/AIDS epidemic for years. After the judge ruled that the s*x was consensual, Zuma was acquitted of the charge in May.
In the fall of 2006, the corruption charges against Zuma were thrown out by a judge. However, the door was left open for charges to be filed against him in the future.
Free of legal challenges, Zuma was soon running for the presidency of the ANC. He took on former friend and president Mbeki for control of their political party. Mbeki was viewed a moderate politician who had helped steadily grow the country’s economy, one of the strongest in Africa, though some saw him as aloof and removed from the people.
Jacob Zuma and South African Leadership
Jacob Zuma had always positioned himself as a man of the people. Even before becoming president, he had done enough to cement himself in the hearts of his people as one who fought apartheid.
His victory over early struggles in life made him an appealing figure to many South Africans for the choice of president. He also capitalized his history as a guerilla fighter to show himself to be a man of action, using the song, “Bring Me My Machine Gun,” as his anthem.
In December 2007, Jacob Zuma’s victory over his predecessor and former boss, Thabo Mbeki at the ANC presidential elections was seen as a sign of impending change for South Africa.
Strongly supported by the unions and some communist party officials, he was considered likely to move to the left from the centrist positions of Mbeki, according to a report from the Pretoria News. This created some concern over the country’s economic future.
Zuma assumed office as President of South Africa after he was elected, defeating Kgalema Motlanthe, who became his deputy president. He was re-elected in 2014, despite mounting criticism that his administration had failed to improve the nation’s economy or effectively battle corruption.
Jacob Zuma Resignation
On February 14, 2018, Jacob Zuma announced he was stepping down as president of South Africa. The announcement came after ANC called for a no-confidence vote in the president and publicly demanded his resignation.
“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name,” he said during a nationally televised political address. “I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.”
The ANC had been trying to oust Zuma for months. In December 2017, the party elected former union leader Cyril Ramaphosa to be its new president, though Zuma subsequently rejected the urging of ANC members to quietly step aside.
Jacob Zuma Net Worth
As at the time of writing, Jacob Zuma is worth an estimated $20 million.