President Kagame meets with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on the sidelines of African Union Summit | Kigali, 16 July 2016. Photo credit: Paul Kagame on Flickr

Jacob Zuma is no longer the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa named new leader

Ten years after South Africa recalled the leadership of Thebo Mbeki, another president is ousted. 

Racked by political scandal and in the midst of South Africa struggling to stabilize its economy, President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign after a fleeting presidency.

Although the Kwa-Zulu Natal contingency of the African National Congress (ANC) disapproved of Zuma’s departure, a party previously led by Nelson Mandela, expressed relief.

The African National Congress’ secretary general expected Zuma made the decision because it would disrupt next year’s elections. Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president has ascended as president. Known as a fierce negotiator, Ramaphosa is also the country’s wealthiest politicians with a net worth of about $450 million rand.

A failed presidency

Under Zuma’s control, the workforce was destroyed and the economy saw little to no development.

Last November,Barclays Africa and Standard Bank stops working with McKinsey, the world’s largest management consulting firm, in the wake of allegations of bribery for work done with friends of South African President Jacob Zuma. McKinsey worked on a 1.6 billion rand government project secured by Eskom, a company owned by the Gupta family, a trio of wealthy brothers (Atul, Ajay, Rajesh) who are Indian immigrants tied to a string of successful businesses.

It is believed that The Gupta’s retained the contract because they are close associates with the Zumas. The resident’s son, Duduzane worked for them for 13 years; while one of Zuma’s wives worked at a Gupta-controlled mine; and Duduzile, a daughter was director of communications at their computer company, Sahara.

One of Zuma’s earliest and biggest critics was youth ANC leader, Julius Malema who mobilized younger citizens to push Zuma to nationalize the mines. Moving the mines to state ownership would redirect wealth back to a majority black population, Malema contended.

Expelled from the ANC, Malema still vies for radical economic and political change, but under the Economic Freedom Fighters. Still, he calls for the people to own natural resources. Currently, he holds President Ramaphosa accountable for meting out the country’s recently passed expropriation land bill.

Like Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, South Africa moves to enact a land redistribution project which directs ownership to an indigenous black population forced off of their most prime real estate during colonization then Apartheid. After Apartheid, whites kept ownership of mines and farms and estates. Now, about 95 percent of the country’s wealth is in the hands of 10 percent of the population.

Read the departure of long-time Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe

Imminent Woes for South Africa

On the Western Cape of South Africa, Cape Town facing an extreme water crisis. Experts say that by April of this year, all six dams will fall below 13.5 percent, leaving the city dry.

With less than three months of clean water in reservoirs of the Western Cape Region, Cape Town, the second-largest South African city, is headed to becoming the first major city to run completely out of usable water.

Already authorities monitor queues at public standpipes. For weeks, broadcasts of ways to save water, such as quick or intermittent showering and reducing toilet flushes flood the news.

| Read more on Cape Town Water Crisis

Nelson Mandela bridge over a metrorail station, going into Braamfontein

Another issue is restoring the economy as a whole. In Johannesburg, city officials implemented an urban farming schema to address high unemployment rates for 16-year-olds to 34.

As South Africa works to reorganize after two failed leaderships, the ANC holds onto to its power.

Co-written by Nyeighsha Lord

 

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