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HomeBioJacob Zuma Biography, Background, Career, Rape, Corruption Allegations, Family & Jail Term

Jacob Zuma Biography, Background, Career, Rape, Corruption Allegations, Family & Jail Term

Jacob Zuma is the former president of South Africa. Born on 12th April 1942, he was among the people who fought the apartheid rule in South Africa and even served a jail term for his involvement in the resiastance. He rose through the ranks and became deputy president of South Africa and eventually the President. His rule was one that was controversy ridden and he continues to be a newsmaker away from politics. 

In June 2021, he was sentenced to a 15-month jail term for contempt of court and on 8th July, he surrendered himself to the police ready to begin his jail term. 


Zuma was born in Nkandla, Natal province. His father was a policeman while his mother was a domestic worker. The father was killed when he was just 5-years-old. He has two brothers. 

Political career

Zuma began engaging in Politics from an early age. 

In 1959, he joined the African National Congress (ANC). ANC was banned by the government in 1961 and he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1962.

In 1963, he was arrested alongside others and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the apartheid government. He served a ten years sentence at Robben Island alongside other ANC party leaders including the late Nelson Mandela.

Zuma helped re-establish the ANC party after he was released from prison. 

In 1975, he left South Africa for Mozambique. In Mozambique, he dealt with the arrivals of thousands of exiles during the beginning of the Soweto uprising. 

In 1977, he became a member of the ANC National Executive Committee. He also served as deputy chief representative of the ANC in Mozambique. In 1984, after the signing of the Nkomati Accord between South Africa and Mozambique, he was appointed chief representative of the ANC. 

In December 1986, the South African government requested Mozambique authorities to expel six senior members of the ANC including Zuma. In 1987, he was forced to leave Mozambique and moved to ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia. He was appointed head of underground structures and then chief of the intelligence department. 

In 1990, the ban of ANC in South Africa was lifted and he returned to South Africa. That same year, he was elected chairperson of the ANC for the Southern Natal region. 

In 1994, he was nominated as the ANC candidate for the premiership of KwaZulu Natal. 

When Nelson Mandela became president and Thabo Mbeki his deputy, he became a member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Affairs and Tourism in his home province of KwaZulu Natal.

Deputy Presidency

In December 1997, he was elected deputy president of the ANC at the national conference held at Mafikeng. 

In June 1999, he was appointed executive  deputy president of South Africa.

In 2004, allegations of corruption were leveled against Jacob Zuma and in 2005 Thabo Mbeki relieved him of his duties as deputy president. Even after being charged with corruption, there would be several delays and finally in 2008 the case was heard. In September 2008, the judge said the corruption charges leveled against him were unlawful on procedural grounds in that the National Directorate of Public Prosecution (NDPP) did not give Zuma a chance to make representations before deciding to charge him. 

This ruling by judge Chris Nicholson was appealed after Thabo Mbeki filed an affidavit. On 6th April 2009, all charges against Zuma were dropped.


In December 2008, he was elected ANC party president. On 6th May 2009, the ANC won the national elections and Jacob Zuma was sworn in as president. As president, he was supposed to declare his wealth within sixty days of taking office, something he failed to do. Amidst corruption allegations and even with a couple of scandals to his name, he was re-elected for a second term in 2014. 

In August 2017, speaker Baleka Mbete announced she would permit a motion of no confidence in Zuma’s government to proceed in the national Assembly through secret ballot. This was the eighth motion to be brought against his presidency and the first to be held on a secret ballot. The motion was defeated. 

On 13th February 2018, ANC announced Zuma had been requested to resign but declined, hence, they were recalling him from the presidency. Zuma later announced his resignation with immediate effect on 14th February.

Rape Allegation

In 2005, he was charged with raping a 31-year-old woman. The alleged victim was the daughter of a deceased struggle comrade of Zuma and an AIDS activist known to be HIV positive. Zuma, however, said that the sex was consensual even as the defense released evidence of her sexual past. The prosecution stated the alleged victim’s failure to fight was as a result of shock since the relationship between the two was like that of a father and daughter. Zuma further admitted to not wearing a condom during the act but that he took a shower to minimize the possibility of getting AIDS. On 8th May 2006, Zuma was acquitted of the charges and also censured for having unprotected sex with a HIV positive women who was not his partner. 


In March 2018, the director of public prosecution confirmed that Zuma would face 18 charges of corruption, including more than 700 counts of fraud and money laundering. 

In January 2020, it was ruled that Zuma and the French arms company Thanks could be criminally tried for alleged activities of illegal arms dealing. 

On 3rd February 2020, a court issued an arrest warrant for Jacob Zuma. 


Jacob is polygamous and different publications state he has at least 20 children- though the exact number is not known. He has also married six times with the names of the women being:

  • Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, born in 1940.
  • Nkosazana Dlami, born in 1949.
  • Kate Mantsho, born in 1956.
  • Nompumelo Ntuli, born in 1975.
  • Thobeka Stacie Mabhija, born in 1972.
  • Gloria Bongekile, born in 1965. 

Jacob Zuma Jailed

The 79 year old former President handed himself to the police to begin his jail term for contempt of court. He will serve a 15 month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home province of KwaZulu-Nata after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry. 

Zuma had in the past refused to hand himself to the authorities but in a statement issued by the Jacob Zuma Foundation said that he had dedicated to comply. 

Efforts by the President to have his sentence suspended on 9 July hit a break-wall with the presiding judge saying that “the application is dismissed”. 

With the judge saying “Mr Zuma’s concerns about his health are not supported by any evidence”