Path to power It is probably a little unfair to say that Jacob Zuma’s presidency was based on a lie. But it was based on an overturned court judgment. Back in 2005, then president Thabo Mbeki had fired Zuma from his job as deputy president in the wake of the conviction of his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, on corruption and bribery charges. Judge Hilary Squires had not minced his words, placing Zuma at the centre of his verdict against Shaik and his fellow accused: “Since all the accused companies were used at one time or another to pay sums of money to Jacob Zuma in contravention of section 1(1)(a)(I) or (ii) of the Corruption Act and accused number one directed them to that end or made payments himself, all the accused are found guilty on the main charge on count 1.” It was so damning a verdict that Mbeki, after a week of dithering, announced to Parliament that Zuma had been fired. “The circumstances dictate that in the interest of the honourable deputy president, the governmen...

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