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A timeline of Jacob Zuma's presidency

President Jacob Zuma delivers his inauguration speech at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in May 2009. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/AP

President Jacob Zuma delivers his inauguration speech at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in May 2009. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/AP

Published Feb 15, 2018



Zuma is elected deputy president of the ANC at the national conference held at Mafikeng in December.


Zuma is appointed Deputy President of South Africa.

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Jacob Zuma, the newly appointed Deputy President of South Africa, applauds during a press conference following the first cabinet meeting of the new government on June 17, 1999. File picture: Peter Andrews/Reuters


In January, Bulelani Ngcuka, the national director of public prosecutions at the time, investigates both Zuma and the chief whip of the ANC, Tony Yengeni, after allegations of abuse of power are levelled against them. These concern improper influence in a controversial arms deal, and the question of financial benefit as a result of such influence. While Yengeni is found guilty, the case is dropped against Zuma, with Ngcuka stating “there was prima facie evidence of corruption, but insufficient to win the case in court”.


Zuma becomes a key figure mentioned in the corruption trial of Durban businessman Schabir Shaik, his financial adviser, over the purchase by South Africa of some Valour-class patrol corvettes, a proposed waterfront development in Durban and lavish spending on Zuma’s residence in Nkandla.

Former Zuma adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption in 2005. File picture: Sandile Makhoba/Independent Media


Shaik is found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.  

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June 14 - Mbeki relieves Zuma of his duties as deputy president of the country but Zuma remains Deputy President of the ANC.

June 20 - National prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli announces that Zuma will be charged with two counts of corruption.

August - The Scorpions, a South African elite crime-fighting unit, raids two private residential houses of Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg and at Nkandla, including offices of his lawyers in Durban and Johannesburg.

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December - Zuma is charged formally with rape, after a woman, who slept for a night at his residence, files charges with the police.


March 6 - The trial of Zuma, charged with allegations of rape, begins.

He was acquitted of raping the HIV-positive family friend in May - although the fact he told the court he had showered in order to avoid catching HIV would continue to haunt him throughout his presidency.

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Former public prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli. File picture: Matthew Jordaan


November- The South African Court of Appeal ruled that raids on Zuma’s home and office, conducted by Scorpions, were legal, including the obtaining of the personal diary of a senior member of the French arms company, Thint. This paves way for the reinstatement of corruption charges.

December - Zuma is elected as the President of the ANC the party’s national conference in Polokwane, Limpopo after a brutal campaign with his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. In Polokwane, Mbeki was booed and lost to Zuma by a large vote after rumours spread that Mbeki was behind a conspiracy to disgrace Zuma and serve another term as President.

Shortly after the conference, Zuma is served with papers to appear in court on corruption charges.

"Today, December 28, 2007, the Directorate of Special Operations [Scorpions] served on Mr Jacob Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the high court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud.”


September 12 - Judge Chris Nicholson dismisses charges of corruption levelled against Zuma citing political interference as the reason. In his judgment, Nicholson said the timing of the charges by former acting National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi Mpshe was most unfortunate. The charges were laid after Zuma replaced Mbeki as ANC president at the party’s Polokwane conference in December 2007. Nicholson accused Mbeki and others in his government of a political conspiracy to charge Zuma.

September 23 - Mbeki applies for leave to appeal the Nicholson ruling in the Constitutional Court.

November 11- The Constitutional Court dismisses Mbeki's application, saying it would not be in the interest of justice to hear the case because the NDPP was already in the process of appealing the Nicholson ruling.

November 28 - The Supreme Court of Appeal hears the NDPP appeal against the Nicholson ruling.

Then-President Thabo Mbeki, left, and ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma embrace at the 52nd African National Congress conference in Polokwane in December 2007. File picture: Jerome Delay/AP


January 12 - The Supreme Court of Appeal upholds the NDPP appeal, but it dismisses Mbeki's application to intervene and dismisses the application to have Nicholson's "political meddling" findings struck out.

February 4 - The Pietermaritzburg High Court sets out a timeline for the Zuma case.

April 6 - The National Prosecuting Authority, after receiving representations from Zuma's lawyers, and  announces that charges against him will be dropped.

"I have come to the difficult conclusion that it is neither possible nor desirable for the NPA to continue with the prosecution," said the NPA's acting national director, Mokotedi Mpshe.

May 6 - The National Prosecuting Authority withdraws all 16 charges against Zuma in the Durban High Court.

May 9 - Zuma is inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

June 12 - Zuma gives his first State of the Nation address at a joint sitting in Parliament.


March 18 - The Congress of the People’s Mvume Dandala proposed a motion of no confidence in the president for his “failure to live up to the expectations of a broad spectrum of South Africans”, however it was amended and withdrawn.

December- Zuma files a lawsuit against AVUSA Media and South African cartoonist Zapiro for R5 million for a cartoon depicting Zuma preparing to rape Lady Justice.


December 18 - He was re-elected as ANC leader at the ANC conference in Mangaung, defeating challenger Kgalema Motlanthe and remained president of South Africa after the 2014 general election.


March 3 - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 1: A motion of no confidence in Zuma was proposed by Agang SA member of Parliament Molapi Plouamma. Plouamma asked the speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete to recuse herself from presiding over the debate, but she refused and so the motion was withdrawn.

March 17 - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 2: A motion of no confidence in President Zuma was brought by the leader of the Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane. The motion was defeated by 221-113.


March 1 - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 3:  Zuma survived a motion of no confidence by another comfortable margin – 225 – 99.

April 1 - Addressing the nation on television, Zuma apologised for breaching the country’s constitution by using public funds to upgrade his personal homestead in Nkandla, KZN. But Zuma insisted he had not deliberately failed to uphold the constitution and attributed his action to “a different approach and different legal advice”.

April 5 -  MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 4: Mmusi Maimane of the DA proposed the vote, following the president’s ‘violation of the constitution’ and the Nkandla scandal. The vote to push Zuma out failed and was defeated by 235 – 143.

November 10 - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 5: This motion of no confidence was proposed by the leader of the opposition Mmusi Maimane. The motion was unsuccessful.

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 6: In late November, ANC MP Derek Hanekom failed to lead a cabinet revolt against Zuma, which resulted in him facing an internal disciplinary hearing and getting relegated to Parliament’s back benches. This was an internal motion of no confidence brought against Zuma.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa stands next to President Jacob Zuma as Zuma takes the national salute during the opening of parliament on 09 February 2017.


May - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 7:  NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe tabled the motion for Zuma to step down. This was a second internal motion of no confidence tabled by an ANC member.

August - MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE 8: National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete ruled that a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma could proceed via secret ballot. Zuma survived another vote of no confidence by a slim margin with 177 voting for him to step down against 198 voting for him to stay.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane during the debate in the National Assembly ahead of the vote of no confidence against President Zuma in August 2017. Picture: Henk Kruger

December - The Public Protector recommended that Zuma should appoint a judicial inquiry into allegations he profited from his relationship with the wealthy Gupta family - he denies the allegations, as have the Guptas

January 2018

Zuma appoints a commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture and names Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head the inquiry.

February 13, 2018

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) reportedly resolves to recall President Jacob Zuma. They give him 48 hours to resign or be recalled. In a meeting with ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and secretary-general Ace Magashule, Zuma refuses to resign. This has not been officially confirmed yet. The ANC NEC have called a media briefing at Luthuli House at 2pm on Tuesday.

February 14, 2018

Jacob Zuma resigns as president

after the 

ANC National Executive Committee recalled him. He addressed the nation from the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Video: Jonisayi W. Maromo/ANA

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