Young People On Zuma’s Presidential Legacy: “He Left Confusion In South Africa”

The African National Congress national executive committee announced on Tuesday afternoon that it will be recalling it deployed, President Jacob Zuma. With this signifying the beginning of the end of Zuma’s reign as president of the country, The Daily Vox asked young people what sort of legacy they think Zuma will behind.

Sandisiwe Dlakiya,19, student, Braamfontein
I think Jacob Zuma has left a legacy as president of South Africa, and that legacy is being a corrupt leader. He has put us through the Nkandla issue, using our parents’ tax money and reshuffling cabinet ministers as he pleased, and without consulting anyone. I definitely will not miss him as president of the country, it was about time that he left. We have been complaining about him, it is really time for him to go. South Africa deserves a break, a new and trusted leader whom we can install our faith on. Jacob Zuma never cared about South Africans, so he has no good legacy.

According to media reports, Zuma requested a three month notice period, after which he would resign unconditionally. This request was turned down, with the NEC demanding his immediate exit.

Avela Ntakende, 19, student, Kokstad
He didn’t leave any legacy, instead he left confusion in South Africa. He made South Africa seem like it was his and only belonged to him. He made decisions mainly for his benefit and didn’t think about how they would affect South Africans. Yes he announced free education, which we as young people wanted, but if we think about it, he only announced this when he knew that his term will coming to an end very soon. No. Why was free education announced way back when things were going well for him and people were not demanding him to step down? And besides, there are students who still cannot access this free education, that we speak off, some of us are still paying from our own pockets. To me, he didn’t do anything unique or worth noting as president in is country.

While some young people believe that President Zuma will not leave a legacy as president of South Africa, some believe that he will be acknowledged as the most controversial leader post-apartheid.

Mbali Mashaba, 19, student, Braamfontein
I think he is going to go down as one of the most controversial leaders South Africa has ever had, post-apartheid. Whether his legacy was a good one or the bad one, I don’t know if we can really say right now. I think this is also because the media has always wanted us to believe that all he does is bad. But at the same time, it feels like Zuma was being used as a scapegoat to blind South Africans from so many issues in this country. White powerful people steal everyday, we have seen this but we see little of it in the media, but the moment one of our own does it, the attention on him seems like they want us to hate him more than the corrupt white people. As I chill here, I am sure somewhere white people are stealing, transactions are happening in the air but we never know their faces.

The ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who announced the NEC’s decision to recall Zuma, said the committee took this decision because it wanted ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver the 2018 State of the Nation Address.

Nomphito Ndima, 21, student, Sebokeng
I think Jacob Zuma did leave a legacy as president of this country. It depends as what you describe “legacy” as, whether it’s good or bad. Jacob Zuma came in as president at a very shaky time for South Africa, at a point where there was so much controversy around Thabo Mbeki, while he was president. If we are being honest, the country is still fully functional, because of his work. Yes, we didn’t grow or progress that much, but we were still stable as a country. We know that he doesn’t work alone in the running of the country, but he is the head and so much was functional in this country. For someone who has been considered to be “less” or “uneducated” for his job compared to previous leaders and other leaders, we need to give him props for what he has done. He has done a lot and all, but let’s also give him a break.

Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Featured image by Elmond Jiyane (GCIS)