The GPM Global Forecast is a bi-weekly, members-only article series for 2018. It provides analysis and short-term forecasting on key military, political, and economic events around the globe.
Pressure Mounts on South Africa’s Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma has had his state of the nation speech postponed indefinitely amid growing calls for the embattled president to step down. The decision was made by parliament speaker Ms. Baleka Mbete, who pushed the president to postpone due to deteriorating decorum within parliament. In actuality, it likely has more to do with the African National Congress wanting to groom Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over for Zuma ahead of elections in 2019.
The postponement reflects the increasingly precarious position that President Zuma finds himself in.
No stranger to controversy, Zuma has been mired in scandal since coming to power in 2009. His political career has weathered supposed corruption involving a 1999 arms deal (the charges were dropped when he assumed presidential immunity in 2009), the construction of a lavish private home in Nkandla on the public’s dime (he eventually paid back the money), an uncomfortably close and very public relationship with the powerful Gupta family, and even accusations of raping a family friend in 2005 (he was found not guilty in 2006).
President Zuma has been South Africa’s answer to Washington’s own Teflon Don. However, there is reason to believe that his luck may soon run out. The ANC is still shaken by its defeat in local elections in 2016 – usually a ‘gimme’ for the party of Nelson Mandela – and many in the highest levels of the ANC leadership believe that Zuma’s considerable baggage could drag the party down in general elections scheduled for 2019.