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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Zuma acquittal leaves press cold
African press

Several South African papers argue Jacob Zuma is unfit to be a future president of the country despite being found not guilty in a high-profile rape trial.

One daily says his acquittal is a "setback for women's rights and political stability" and that his expected candidacy should be "blocked firmly and permanently".

Whilst one editorial says the matter "should be laid to rest", other commentators point to Mr Zuma's forthcoming corruption trial as a sign that South Africa politics will become "even messier".

THE PRETORIA NEWS

Zuma is not fit to lead a country where women's rights are high on the agenda, where the fight against Aids is, or should be, an urgent national priority and where the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the duty of the powerful. South Africa deserves a president who can lead by example. Jacob Zuma has shown that he cannot do that.

THE CITIZEN

Jacob Zuma's predictable acquittal is a setback for women's rights and for political stability... He has brought the party and the country into disrepute. His path to the presidency must be blocked firmly and permanently.

THE STAR

All level-headed and rational South Africans must accept the judgment as correct and just... It will be left to the court of public opinion to decide on Zuma's inability to exercise proper judgment and whether he is, in fact, fit for high office.

IDO LEKOTA IN SOWETAN

The real question about Zuma's future goes beyond who in the African National Congress does or does not want him as the president. It is about whether South Africa can afford to have a president who has made such utterances in a country ravaged by HIV/Aids and violence against women.

SOWETAN

For the thousands of supporters of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, the verdict could be the beginning of a political drive to ensure that he is voted in as the next president of the country... Judge Willem van der Merwe's ruling should be respected by all, including those who wanted to see Zuma behind bars at whatever cost. The matter should now be laid to rest.

BUSINESS DAY

In the hullabaloo around this victory, it needs to be borne in mind that this is just the first of two critical hurdles Zuma needs to clear. The rape charge is now, politically speaking, water under the bridge. But the corruption charges he faces, which include an extensive paper trail, may prove a more awkward obstacle altogether.

JUSTICE MALALA IN SOWETAN

With his vindication yesterday and the strong possibility that he will be found not guilty in his looming corruption trial, Zuma's chances of becoming ANC president are edging closer... With Zuma and his supporters saying one battle down, one to go, this is a tussle that has only just started. South Africa should hold on tight. It is going to get even messier.

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 bureaux abroad.







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SEE ALSO:
Timeline: South Africa
09 May 06 |  Country profiles


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