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Zuma survives no-confidence vote 0

After weathering scandals that would have ended most political careers, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma secured a resounding victory Thursday in a no-confidence vote against him in parliament. The 214-126 result means President Zuma has survived six votes of no-confidence since 2010 thanks to the ANC party’s large parliamentary majority.

But the heated debate before the vote drew further attention to his mounting troubles after a year of setbacks and humiliating court rulings.

The multi-million dollar graft scandal stands out as one of the biggest blights on Zuma’s presidency after he was found to have benefitted from taxpayer-funded upgrades to Nkandla, his private rural homestead.

Swimming pool

A probe by the public watchdog revealed that the upgrades included a litany of non-security renovations, including a swimming pool and chicken coop.

On March 31 this year, the scandal came to a dramatic climax when the Constitutional Court found the president guilty of violating his oath of office by refusing to pay back the money.

Defeated in court and facing mounting public criticism, he relented and paid $542,000, a sum set by the treasury.

His application

A High Court ruling on June 24 dealt President Zuma another heavy blow when it rejected his application to appeal against a decision to reinstate nearly 800 corruption charges that were dropped in 2009.

The 783 criminal charges relate to allegations of corruption, racketeering and money laundering over a multi-billion dollar arms procurement deal by the government in the late 1990s.

The dropping of the charges paved the way for him to become president of the ANC and, soon afterwards, to take power nationally following elections.

Election humiliation

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party has pushed for the charges to be reinstated, with more court hearings expected soon.

Under Zuma’s leadership, the ANC suffered a major election humiliation in municipal elections on August 3, losing control of three cities, including the administrative capital Pretoria and the economic hub Johannesburg.

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By Sinbogile Khumalo

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi