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South Africa - Jacob Zuma -

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South Africa - Jacob Zuma

Broadcast: 19/09/2006

Reporter: Zoe Daniel


DANIEL: May 2006, Johannesburg High Court, tens of thousands turn out in support of Jacob Zuma.
When he is acquitted of rape, the scenes of celebration are extraordinary.

MAN CHANTING ON MIKE TO CROWD: Zuma, Zuma, Zuma, Zuma, Zuma....

WOMAN IN CROWD YELLING: He's not guilty! He is not guilty!

DANIEL: Not guilty of rape, but he is still facing court. This time to answer charges of
corruption. Jacob Zuma is South Africa's most controversial personality and we've been given rare
access to the man at the centre as he fends off his critics.

JACOB ZUMA: [Former Deputy President] Their problem is that they don't know that the people know me
better than they do. They can't succeed because people know me. You know here... people know me
here. That... that's a problem of the media and whoever else is behind the media.

DANIEL: His court appearances are like campaign rallies and he's even adopted an ANC struggle
anthem as his theme song. It loosely translates to 'bring me my machine gun'.

JACOB ZUMA: [singing and dancing outside of court with crowd] Bring my machine, my machine gun.
Bring my machine, father bring my machine...

DANIEL: Tell me about that song, 'umshin awa, umshin awa'.

JACOB ZUMA: [laughing] It's a nice song! It's a song that made us as soldiers... to be really
enthused, and be rejuvenated. And to be ready to deal with the situation. And that's what it is.

DANIEL: And it's relevant to you now then.

JACOB ZUMA: Absolutely it's very relevant. Absolutely.

DANIEL: The rape case was ugly. Zuma was accused of forcing himself on the thirty-one year old
daughter of an old friend while she was visiting the family home.

WOMAN IN CROWD: Zuma he never rape anybody. They raped Zuma!

DANIEL: The plaintive comments from the women's lobby were hardly heard in the commotion.

WOMAN LOBBYIST: Well if he's free, what are we doing to do? Because men rape, because they always
get away with that. They are not going to stop. A woman must speak out. A rape is always a crime.
It won't change.

DANIEL: And the allegation has fed theories that a faceless force is targeting Jacob Zuma.

Do you believe that the allegations that have been made against you are part of some sort of
conspiracy to stop you from becoming President?

JACOB ZUMA: Absolutely I do. I do because of the manner in which they've been handled, they've been
conducted, they've arisen. I certainly do.

DANIEL: Jacob Zuma is a Zulu. He grew up in rural KwaZulu-Natal herding cattle on the lands where
the Zulu King Shaka and his impi soldiers had battled the white colonials. Early on, he too
developed a fighting spirit.

JACOB ZUMA: Besides my growing up in a natural way as a head boy, looking after cattle and goat,
walking up these mountains, playing and doing all things, I was nourished by the stories of
resistance and how colonialism had damaged our people.

DANIEL: Jacob Zuma maintains a private compound in his hometown of Nkandla in one of the most
isolated parts of Zulu land. It's become a rallying point for his supporters who wont even consider
the possibility that he may be guilty. To them, Jacob Zuma is an untouchable hero of the struggle
against white rule. His family is understandably leading his cheer squad.

SILAS ZUMA: [Brother] He is a people's person and not just a people's person because he talks to
people but because he helps people. I think that is what sets him aside from most people who love
people theoretically but do not act on people's plights.

DANIEL: Did it ever occur to you that perhaps he did do something wrong?

SILAS ZUMA: Both the corruption and the rape trial, it's just unlike Jacob. Jacob is a simple man.
He hardly owns buildings and shops and things like that. It was just unlike Jacob. I just never
believed it.

DANIEL: As a young man, Jacob Zuma joined the African National Congress to fight apartheid. Like
Nelson Mandela, he spent years in prison on Robben Island for his ANC military activities and then
fifteen years coordinating ANC guerrilla fighters from exile.

In 1990 he was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa and for that he was
eventually awarded with the deputy presidency. It's that history that explains his popularity

JACOB ZUMA: I think they see the qualities that I actually believe I have. I have the love for the
people. I dedicated my life to liberate them and myself. I dedicated my life to fight for freedom
so that we are free.

DANIEL: Having been so discredited, Jacob Zuma is fighting to regain both his reputation and his
position. The not guilty verdict in the rape trial helps, but he still stands accused of corruption
for accepting bribes as part of a multi-million dollar foreign arms deal A conviction could see him
gaoled for more than ten years, an acquittal would boost his chance of becoming President in 2009.

REDI DIREKO: [announcing on radio] Last year we all know Jacob Zuma was nominated news maker of the
year. No surprises there. He was sacked...

DANIEL: Zuma accuses journalists like Redi Direko of prejudging his case and being part of the
conspiracy to unseat him.

REDI DIREKO: [Radio journalist] If he's found not guilty in the corruption trial for me, it doesn't
address my fundamental concerns. We saw his bank statements, bouncing cheques, debts, unpaid
accounts. That is a fact. That was not fabricated so for me, a man who can't handle his personal
accounts, I don't see him handling the country's finances and the economy.

JACOB ZUMA: I am not a book keeper. I'm not a book keeper. I know that the media has said how could
you run a country if you can't count?

DANIEL: Are you bad with money?

JACOB ZUMA: You don't, you don't, you don't, you don't, you don't, if, if you were to run a
country, you don't take a test whether you are a good book keeper. I don't know, what is it? That
is merely a propaganda to say this man can't run his finances. What else can you do? There is no
President in the world who runs his money, who counts his pennies. It's not, it's not done. That's
propaganda my dear.

[addressing press conference] I wish to state categorically that I erred...

DANIEL: Jacob Zuma is accused of poor judgment in more than just financial matters. Once the head
of the moral regeneration campaign in South Africa, Zuma's rape trial exposed his personal morals.

[addressing press conference] The ANC will decide after all of this whether it thinks it can give
me the duties or not.

REDI DIREKO: When a politician who could possibly become the next President of the Republic says
that if you walk away from an aroused woman it is akin to rape, that makes my blood boil. That
shocks me because it means you don't understand what rape is.

DANIEL: To compound the case, Zuma admitted that he'd had sex with the woman who was HIV positive
and that to try to reduce his chance of infection, he's had a post coital shower.

JACOB ZUMA: [Addressing press conference] Some people suggested what other measures could be taken...

DANIEL: Given that South Africa has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, Zuma's conduct
and ignorance were astonishing.

REDI DIREKO: Now those comments coming from somebody of his calibre and stature, those are deadly.
Those are deadly.

DANIEL: Should you become president, how could you represent South Africa internationally on the
issue of HIV having slept with someone...

JACOB ZUMA: I would definitely do so.

DANIEL: ...knowingly, without protection.

JACOB ZUMA: I'll definitely, absolutely do so.

DANIEL: So yes but shouldn't you know better?

JACOB ZUMA: I know better and that's the reason why I acted the way I did and that's the reason why
I... I apologised to the nation.

DANIEL: But you only apologised because you had to, because it all came out in court.

JACOB ZUMA: Of course that's what you do, to apologise because things have come out. How many
people don't apologise on what they do in their bedrooms?

DANIEL: KwaZulu-Natal has traditionally been a politically divided province. It's one of the few
parts of South Africa that hasn't been dominated by the ANC, but such is the popularity of Jacob
Zuma that he's fast becoming bigger than the party. In a major shift, people are abandoning tribal
and political lines both here and in other parts of the country, to follow him as an individual.

In Zululand, there is a sense that a Zulu president would represent a great victory for a proud
people, a victory that local chiefs are fighting for.

INKOSI NGOBESE: The things that were done to him were to hurt him - to destroy his standing, taint
his future and prevent him from becoming the next president of the country. It's the Devil that is
making all this in order to sideline him. The Zulu nation's strength is being tested through him.
He was born to lead.

THABO MBEKI: [President, South Africa press conference] We know that we've got a main principal

DANIEL: Zulus are the biggest and strongest tribe in South Africa and they want to run the country.
So when President Thabo Mbeki sacked Deputy President Zuma fifteen months ago, some Zulus saw it as
a plot to keep them down.

THABO MBEKI: Our strength lies in our unity.

DANIEL: Mbeki has been promoting as his successor, a Zulu woman but she's married to the very man
from his own closer tribe who brought the charges against Zuma in the first place. Yet Zuma insists
that the battle for power is not tribal.

JACOB ZUMA: It has nothing to do with Zulu... Zuluness. That's not the issue but you know the issue
of tribalism, the issue of ethnicity, you know it's an issue that politicians often use for their
own agendas in whatever way. Wars are fought on ethnicity when in fact it is not just ethnicity, it
is other interests that are involved.

DANIEL: Everywhere that he goes, even beyond Zululand, he attracts crowds. In small communities
across South Africa, Zuma is building his reputation as the man of the people. He says that he's
never coveted the presidency but there's no doubt he is conducting a campaign - and fighting for
his political life.

Do you think people might say, well he's made mistakes, he can't run his own life, how can he run a

JACOB ZUMA: How can I not run, I've been running my own life up till now.

DANIEL: Sure but you've been described as irresponsible with poor judgment, little sense of
personal responsibility and lacking self control.

JACOB ZUMA: Those are views, those are views of people.

DANIEL: Are any of those true?

JACOB ZUMA: Not, not at all true. I wouldn't have survived even the struggle if I'd always wrong
judgment. I'm sure I would have been killed or arrested the first time.

REDI DIREKO: I agree with those who believe that if the state doesn't manage to prosecute him and
get a conviction, then he will become the next President of South Africa. That's what I think.
That's what I think. And emphatically for me, it isn't the kind of person that we need at this
point in our history.

DANIEL: Jacob Zuma has many names. Most know him as 'JZ' or 'Msholozi' after his father. But he has
an African name that's rarely used.

JACOB ZUMA: That's what my father gave me, Gedleyehlekisa.

DANIEL: What does it mean? It means the one who jokes and laughs is that right?

JACOB ZUMA: [laughing] Jokes and laughs not at all. In one sense it means one who laughs with you,
whilst endangering you. Literally - the one who laughs with you whilst endangering you.

DANIEL: Should I be scared now?

JACOB ZUMA: No do not feel scared at all. I would never endanger you. It's just a name.

DANIEL: Does it fit you?

JACOB ZUMA: No it doesn't. I think one part of it might, not everything because I laugh and I love
laughing but I am not dangerous to anyone, not a danger at all.

DANIEL: Tomorrow Jacob Zuma will be back in court, the prosecutor's seeking delay, the defence
demanding that the charges are thrown out and Jacob Zuma's supporters are still singing too loudly
to hear his critics.