Mr Zuma is under fire from the South African press
The conviction of a financial adviser to South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma for fraud and corruption has electrified the country's press. In his judgement, Judge Hillary Squires declared that Mr Zuma had received payments from the adviser's companies in contravention of the Corruption Act.
Deeming him unfit for high office, papers call on Mr Zuma to step down and abandon his ambitions to be president. The country cannot face the world with a president - or deputy president - found by a court to have been involved in a "corrupt relationship", they argue.
While we accept that [Deputy President Jacob] Zuma was not on trial, South Africa and the deputy president himself have to face the reality that a high court has found that [Durban businessman and financial adviser Schabir] Shaik and Zuma were involved in a corrupt relationship... What Judge [Hillary] Squires' judgment does is to call into question Zuma's ability to hold a senior job such as the deputy presidency.
The question we pose today is: does South Africa want to continue to have, as its deputy president and possible future president, a man who has been found to have been involved in a corrupt relationship?... Zuma's high public office has been badly tarnished by the Shaik verdict. He must do the honourable thing and step down.
Zuma was not on trial, but [Judge] Squires ensured that, as he destroyed Shaik's credibility, the entire nation was able to hear how Zuma colluded, aided and abetted Shaik's money-grubbing and lying.
Zuma needed money and seemed prepared to do anything to get it... [Zuma] is still a heartbeat from the presidency. That must now stop and the next few weeks will be a measure of President Thabo Mbeki's much-trumpeted moral fibre... Zuma should quickly resign, failing which he should be removed from office by his boss. And he must be prosecuted.
Deputy President Jacob Zuma is reportedly fond of joking that he is the only African National Congress (ANC) leader whose financial affairs are known by all and sundry... Zuma's loaded joke suggests that his relationship with Shaik, which Judge Hillary Squires found this week to have been "generally corrupt", is not unique among ANC leaders...
Therein lies the problem for the ruling party. Can it take action against one of its most charismatic and popular leaders without incurring his wrath?... What would the implications of that be for the ANC, given the polarizing effect that the Shaik trial and Zuma's presidential bid have had on the ANC?
Commentary in Business Day
There are elements of Shakespearean tragedy in the Zuma saga - a man with many positive attributes, a peacemaker, unifier and non-racialist with the common touch, essentially undone by the fatal flaw of living beyond his means and yielding to the lure of easy money...
South Africa simply cannot face the rest of the world with a president, or a deputy president... found by a court of law to have had a generally corrupt relationship with a businessman convicted of fraud and graft... We believe Zuma should not wait for President Thabo Mbeki to remove him from the cabinet, nor for the ANC's mid-term policy summit... to announce that he is withdrawing from the race for the presidency...
For Zuma and his party to withdraw his claim to presidential succession would symbolise powerfully that the anti-corruption system does work.
Mail & Guardian
Many see no wrong in using power for profit. If Zuma decides to fight, he will have huge backing and the country could be plunged into political crisis. But ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe himself said this week: "We've got to act with firmness against anybody accused of wrongdoing, particularly public officials."
President Mbeki and his government have sworn their commitment and leadership in the struggle to end corruption in the administration of South Africa and Africa - a campaign essential to the future well-being of the continent. Like charity, political morality begins at home - and it never comes easily.
The conviction of Schabir Shaik and the implication of Deputy President Jacob Zuma in nefarious shenanigans casts an ugly pall of uncertainty over those who wield power in this country.
It is in such dark hours that leaders rise to the top and the country looks to President Thabo Mbeki to reassure us that the government's tough talk on corruption is not just hot air.
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