Year in review: Jacob Zuma's last six weeks as president

27 December 2018 - 10:00 By Ntokozo Miya
Jacob Zuma was president of SA for only six weeks in 2018 - before being forced to resign in February, bringing an end to the Zuma era.
Jacob Zuma was president of SA for only six weeks in 2018 - before being forced to resign in February, bringing an end to the Zuma era.
Image: Esa Alexander

After months of calls for his resignation, Jacob Zuma finally stepped down in February 2018. But he did not let go easily.

Civil society and opposition parties wanted Zuma out of office, citing his links to the Gupta family and the corruption allegations against him. 

Zuma spent only six weeks as president in 2018. The following are highlights of those final weeks.

State capture inquiry established

In the second week of January, Zuma finally committed to the appointment of a commission of inquiry to investigate state capture. 

The inquiry was the result of former public protector Thuli Madonsela publishing her last report, in 2016, titled 'State of Capture'.

Zuma was opposed to the inquiry and conceded only after the courts had dismissed his attempt to have Madonsela's report set aside.

In a January statement, Zuma said: "The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of SA, is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty."

Zuma booed at an ANC event

Party president Cyril Ramaphosa had to intervene when Zuma, at the time still the country's president, was booed by ANC supporters at the ANC's January 8 statement in East London.

The incident wasan embarrassment for the ANC because a foreign head of state, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, was also in attendance. 

Ramaphosa urged the crowd to behave. "This is a celebration of 106 years of the ANC. It's a day of happiness. It's not a day to do wrong things."

Zuma and Ramaphosa put on a united front

Zuma was all smiles when he sat next to Ramaphosa at the cabinet lekgotla at the end of January.

Around this time, opposition parties were intensifying their efforts to have Zuma removed.

ANC vs pro-Zuma BLF supporters

Members of the Black First Land First group took their "Hands off Jacob Zuma" protest to Luthuli House.

The February 5 protest made headlines after it turned violent when the BLF crowd was confronted by a group of ANC supporters determined to protect the party's headquarters.

Zuma gives ANC terms for his exit

Shortly before his resignation, Zuma reportedly gave the ANC's top six a number of conditions that would have to be met for him to make a graceful exit.

Zuma apparently demanded that corruption charges against him be dropped without consequence. He also wanted the ministers he had appointed to keep their jobs and continue to work on projects that he had initiated.

The much-anticipated resignation

On Wednesday February 14 Zuma finally announced his resignation via a televised statement, bringing an end to months of anti-Zuma protests and speculation about the country's leadership.

Zuma said: "Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation ... I have always been a disciplined member of the organisation.

"As I leave, I will continue to serve the people of SA as well as the ANC."