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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Press backs Zuma sacking
African press graphic

Newspapers in South Africa and beyond are convinced that President Thabo Mbeki made the right decision in sacking his deputy Jacob Zuma after he was implicated in the case of a businessman jailed on corruption charges.

There is little gloating over the fall from grace of the man once seen as the natural successor to Mr Mbeki, and some expressions of sadness.

In an editorial headlined "The courage to lead", Business Day argues the president had no alternative to sacking his deputy, though "watching him deliver the axe to Deputy President Jacob Zuma's political neck yesterday was agonising".

A move that will be investor-friendly for a long time to come
The Star

"South Africans must be grateful for what Mbeki did. When it can sometimes seem as if SA is becoming mired in corruption, its leader acted against the hardest possible target. If that didn't take courage then the word has lost its meaning."

"SA remains a beacon of good government on the continent. It retains the voice Mbeki himself has raised in support of Africa's revival."

Business Day has reassuring words for Mr Zuma. "Zuma is a credible and legitimate political voice and now that he has had to step down from high office, we see no reason for him to vanish from public life."

For the Cape Argus, Mr Zuma was "the latest in a line of leaders who have lost their way".

'Bold'

In Port Elizabeth, The Herald described him affectionately as a "man of the people, with an infectious chuckle".

However, his dismissal had come as little surprise. "Perhaps he recognised that the end was not far away".

The Star sees the action as benefiting South Africa both politically and economically.

"Mbeki's decision to get rid of Jacob Zuma is viewed as a move that will be investor-friendly for a long time to come... In the long term, it is likely that the move will be market-positive - underlining the country's determination to fight corruption."

"Thabo Mbeki's speech has reinforced South Africa standing in the international community. It has strengthened the country's stature by underlining not only a commitment to clean government, but, critically, to the country's constitution and its institutions, including the judiciary."

Zuma's entire role in this matter is a tragedy. He has accomplished an immense amount of good
The Mercury

In Mr Zumas's home region of Kwazulu-Natal, the editor of the The Mercury describes President Mbeki's decision as "the vitally correct choice".

"His decision to remove Deputy President Jacob Zuma from office was bold in that he risked alienating a vocal portion of his own party and alliance partners.

"While Zuma remains 'innocent until proven guilty', South Africa cannot afford to have its highest office-bearers associated with crime and corruption, even by implication."

"Zuma's entire role in this matter is a tragedy. He has accomplished an immense amount of good in building peace in this country and in other parts of the continent," adds The Mercury's editor.

'Defining moment'

The Mail and Guardian describes the Zuma crisis as a "maelstrom" and the country's "gravest post-apartheid political crisis".

"It is a defining moment - what we do now will determine what kind of country future generations of South Africans inhabit."

At issue was not a popularity contest between the president and his deputy but "whether the nation will tolerate corruption in public life or live the dream of the Constitution". It was "a battle between yesterday and tomorrow".

Further afield in Africa, Tanzania's Swahili-language Uhuru lauds the South African leader in an editorial entitled "Mbeki has done Africa proud".

"That a government official as senior as a deputy president can be sacked just because his advisor has been found guilty of corruption is no doubt a big step for South Africa and the African continent.

This surely holds a lesson for us, in Kenya
The Nation

"We do not celebrate Zuma's sacking but we find comfort in the decision to sack him, which reminds those among our leaders who run public affairs with impunity... that transparency exists."

Kenya's Nation also believes the decision is a lesson to the continent, in an editorial headlined "Mbeki has shown the way".

"Mbeki chose the painful, but correct, path. This call not only bolsters President Mbeki's credentials in the war against graft. It is also a powerful lesson to all the emerging democracies in Africa and beyond."

"This surely holds a lesson for us, in Kenya, where it appears some powerful people are able to get away with all manner of indiscretions simply because they claim some long-standing ties to the president."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Praise for sacking of SA's Zuma
15 Jun 05 |  Africa
Zuma: Mbeki's toughest decision
14 Jun 05 |  Africa
SA press demands graft action
09 Jun 05 |  Africa
Jail term for corrupt Zuma aide
08 Jun 05 |  Africa


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