The ghosts of Zuma’s past
The former president has cast a long shadow over SA — not just in terms of the state capture carried out during his tenure, but also in the legal legacy that arose from his conflicts with the public protector
Former president Jacob Zuma’s nine years as president have left a legacy that is deeper than just the devastation of state capture. His disregard for then public protector Thuli Madonsela — which took the form of a running legal battle — established precedents with far-reaching effects for SA’s body politic.
Zuma’s tenure was marked by "lawfare": the courts became a battleground as political parties, NGOs and lobby groups turned to the judiciary to challenge decisions and abuses as the state was brought to its knees. At the same time, pressure mounted on judges — the last line of defence in a constitutional democracy — to ensure that politicians did not ignore constitutional entities such as the public protector.