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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
What next for South African politics?
Jacob Zuma speaks in Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa
South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma says he will stand down as a member of parliament after being sacked by President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr Zuma had been under intense pressure after his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption and fraud two weeks ago.

President Mbeki said that in order to defend South Africa's young democracy "it would be best to release Jacob Zuma of his responsibilities".

Is the sacking a sign that the South African government is serious about tackling corruption? Is it in the best interests of the country's young democracy, as President Mbeki said?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

The president only made his decision with the help of some top leagues
Bobby, Harare, Zimbabwe
The sacking was after immense pressure from various influential people and organisations. The president only made his decision with the help of some top leagues. Since there is no clear evidence if the ex-vice president is guilty, we can not say ANC is tackling corruption.
Bobby Jakachira, Harare, Zimbabwe

Long live Africa's young democracy. This is a very good lesson coming from our big brother .I hope my president, John A Kufuor and the other African leaders learn from President Mbeki.
George Meyiri Bob-Milliar, Ghanaian student in the UK

A laudable decision by Mbeki, but in all cases the only normative decision. This would not even be a point of debate in developed countries; Zuma is sufficiently tainted to be removed from his post pending an investigation. Enough said! Why debate the non-issue? That's clear and good governance!
Stuart Rothgiesser, Cape Town, South Africa

I'm not so sure that this is a sign of fighting corruption, more of taking a heaven-sent opportunity to remove a potential challenger. Come the day Mbeki has to stand down, the constitution will be changed to allow him to continue in power as a 'demand of the people'. Zuma would have been a powerful challenger to this. This is why he has been sacked. Let's not forget that this is the same Mbeki who refuses to criticise Mugabe.
John, Reading, UK

The sacking of Zuma may be a turning point in the destiny of our continent, a clear message has been sent: RSA will not follow down the path of other African nations.
Matthew Jankes, Johannesburg, South Africa

This was the ANC's biggest test when it comes to respecting the rule of law, instead of the ANC being the law. This positive move will have far reaching implications for SA and the continent. If Zuma would have remained, then that would have been a green light for corruption to filter throughout SA government. This shows that the ANC is serious about open, honest and strong government.
Malcolm Oliver, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The decision is right but should have been taken months ago. It says nothing about how corruption is being tackled in this country because examples of inappropriate practices are regularly reported and are seen as right by many people in ridding South Africa of the wrongs of the past. But creating wrongs today in that so-called cause is not the right way forward. SA has many problems, HIV/Aids being one of them which is being denied by president and cabinet alike. That is equally damaging as so-called financial corruption. Please listen to those who know and do something positive about these things as well Mr President.
Derek Salter, Cape Town, South Africa

Mr Mbeki has taken a positive step but South Africa needs to be ever vigilant against corruption - this is the best way to secure investment from abroad and uplift the S.A. poor.
James Rossiter, London, England

I hope it sends a signal to all other corrupt African politicians
Trevor, Lusaka, Zambia
This is a great and courageous decision by Mr. Mbeki. I hope it sends a signal to all other corrupt African politicians. At least we have a country to be proud of and a leader to look up to as a model for the NEW AFRICA.
Trevor, Lusaka, Zambia

Is the rest of Africa watching and listening? I hope the southern breeze can blow westward. Thanks Mr. President!
Sylvester Selekpoh, Monrovia, Liberia

Congratulations to our president Thabo Mbeki for the right move. Our continent Africa need such courageous leaders who says no to corruption.
Lorraine Madisha, Arnhem Netherlands

Now, finally, South Africa, can tell us all what to do! See, what principle can do; the country is always larger than the leaders.
Raymond Muhula, Washington DC, USA

Lets remember the old saying "the arrival of one swallow does not make spring". One high profile gesture does not mean all is well in SA. Lets us see what happens next to Mr. Zuma and also zoom-in more to what happens everyday to ALL peoples in SA. That is really what matters.
Albert Walnut, Toronto, Canada

Thabo Mbeki has always been a man of ethics. I do not think there is any president in the world who works half as hard as Thabo Mbeki and I think the leading countries of the world must begin to reward him accordingly, in the form of allowing his country a seat in the Security Council and other influential organs of global governance. This came as no surprise to us who know the integrity of our dear president.
Themba Nkala, Johannesburg, South Africa

This is the example to follow in the whole continent
Krishna Acharya, UK
Corruption is the root cause of poverty and social unrest. That is a good start for better future. This is the example to follow in the whole continent.
Krishna Acharya, UK

Mr Mbeki's actions are what any leader's would be - that the buck stops with him and he will take any necessary action to ensure that South Africa is not painted with the same brush as the rest of Africa!
Debbie, London, UK

This can be viewed in two different ways. The first way is that this is showing the credibility and democracy of the new Black South African Government. The other way is that this could be the beginning of tribal power struggles for African governments, with all people taking their positions and factions. There is still a long road ahead for the new democratic South Africa.
Tariro Tekere

Yes it shows he is serious. Give the man his due, this was a tough decision and he didn't shirk his responsibility. It is good news for South Africa and bad news for other African leaders as Mbeki has now set the highest precedent he could.
Richard, Dubai

This was a brave decision considering the popularity of Zuma. It gives Mbeki the legitimacy to confront other African leaders who abet corruption.
Arnold, Manchester, UK

Difficult decisions are made by great leaders. President Mbeki has proven in today's move to be one that the people of this continent and the world will get to remember for a long time. Dear Mbeki, I am proud to be an African, thanks to you.
Dikongue, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ultimately, it's a victory for our young democracy, and should serve as an example for some Western countries where corruption of politicians by business interests still seems to be the norm.
Neil C, Cape Town, South Africa

In a short comment that I am allowed to make as a young South African I will say the President has done the right thing by releasing his deputy from his responsibilities. But a big question now is a political one. I am saying this because Zuma has threatened that he will declare the names of those within the ANC who are pursuing a political agenda. The second is an ethnic one, it says; will the ANC be able to convince Zulu speaking people that this was not an ethnically motivated fight? To both questions I do not have answers.
Bhekumuzi, Durban

The interest of South Africa's young democracy will never be tainted if everyone works together to fight corruption
Firdaus, Singapore
It is good that Mr Mbeki chose to sack his deputy rather than keep him longer. This action has shown that Mr Mbeki is serious about fighting corruption. But it does not take the sacking of a vice-president to do the job. It requires the co-operation of everyone, be it ordinary citizen or a president to tackle corruption. The interest of South Africa's young democracy will never be tainted if everyone works together to fight corruption.
Firdaus, Singapore

Well done Mbeki. You have once again shown African leaders the way. This continent needs more leaders like you. You have shown in real practical terms your will to fight corruption. Many of our leaders would have chosen political expediency over the overall good of the nation. Hope they will learn from your fine example. You have done us proud !!
Kennedy, Kampala, Uganda

While Mr Mbeki has done the right thing, it remains worrying that there are significantly large elements within the ruling party and its alliance partners, that did not see fit to pressure Mr Zuma into leaving of his own accord. The tradition of having accountable politicians, who will resign in the face of serious and reasonably grounded allegations, before clearing their name is something that needs to be encouraged if the government is serious about clearing up corruption.
John, Johannesburg, South Africa

The world is being asked to believe in a new South Africa and the cynical world is eager to believe. Sacking the next in power to the 'throne' is often the first 'well-meaning' move of a tyrant-in-waiting. Is the conviction 100% sound? Who will replace Jacob Zuma? It will be hugely interesting to see how President Mbeki shapes up.
Jane, Charlottetown, Canada

Mr Mbeki has acted with integrity and good sense
Allison Farah, South Africa
I believe it is in the best interests of the country and that Mr Mbeki has acted with integrity and good sense. I believe too that he is sincere in his efforts to stamp out corruption in high places especially in government, national or provincial or municipal. He has said that he is tired of the perception that the SA government is corrupt and that South Africa experiences crime per se.
Allison Farah, Johannesburg, South Africa

African leaders are now learning the meaning of accountability for the deeds of there juniors. Please keep it up, we want transparent leaders like Mbeki.
Okello Jr, Uganda

This is the right decision and shows that at least some countries in Africa are committed to the fight against corruption. I hope President Kibaki is watching and listening!
Bernard Onyango, Kisumu, Kenya

This shows the rest of the world that President Mbeki is endeavouring to keep his government as free from being smeared as possible. If Jacob Zuma proves in a court that he has not had a corrupt relationship with Schabir Shaik, then I am sure he will be welcomed back by Mbeki
Brian, Milton Regis Kent

It is a very good sign that corruption is at last being addressed. I hope more heads will roll as Mbeki cleans up his cabinet.
Laura, South Africa

I wish all the African leaders would emulate that decision by Mbeki, especially the leaders in my country Kenya. When you get tainted by scandal, you either resign your position, or the President fires you. That is when leaders will know that corruption does not pay!
Chege, Nairobi, Kenya

What else could he do? Keeping corrupt officials in parliament would seriously have damaged South Africa's already tarnished international reputation, referring to Mbeki's lack of action against Zimbabwe. At least the ruling party is seen to set his own house in order. One can only wait and see what the ramifications are going to be and how this attitude is going to be followed through in less high-profile instances!
Wikus Erasmus, Johannesburg, South Africa

It came because of the pressure from the opposition in parliament and the public at large
Mutashubirwa John Ndimala, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The sacking of the deputy president of South Africa is not a sign that now the government is serious about tackling corruption. It came because of the pressure from the opposition in parliament and the public at large.
Mutashubirwa John Ndimala, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The sacking of Deputy President Zuma, and the cancellation of President Mbeki's planned trip to Darfur in order to attend to urgent domestic matters, is indicative of his sincerity to tackle and root out all possible corruption in the SA government. He will earn lots of brownie points at the upcoming G8 conference if he does this swiftly and effectively.
Faith Botha, Hermanus, South Africa

President Mbeki has set a fantastic example that needs to be emulated by the entire world. I hope the Kenyan leader is following the events down south. He campaigned on a platform of zero tolerance on corruption but has done nothing. Kudos Mr Mbeki you have lead the world from the front.
George A M Mokaya, Washington DC, USA

I think it is a fantastic sign of President Mbeki's character and spatial awareness of Africa's global image as corrupt, in terms of governance. As a Kenyan, I hope President Kibaki takes a leaf from President Mbeki, as I believe just the whiff of a scandal or justifiable implication of corruption is enough to sack a civil servant.
Mworia, Columbus, Ohio, USA

South Africa will not tolerate corruption even if it means sacking fellow comrades who laboured hard to establish freedom and peace
Mpho Madisha, Arnhem, The Netherlands
It is sad to lose a great statesman like Zuma, but it is indeed necessary for a young democratic government like in South Africa to be clear of corruption. Hopefully this will send a clear message of South Africa's stand on corruption, firstly to everyone in the country and secondly to the richer nations wanting to invest in the country. South Africa will not tolerate corruption even if it means sacking fellow comrades who laboured hard to establish freedom and peace in the country.
Mpho Madisha, Arnhem, The Netherlands

I think the sacking of Mr Zuma is a sign of the South African government's seriousness about tackling corruption. I believe it is in the best interests of the country's young democracy. I agree with the bold decision of President Mbeki in spite of the popularity of Mr Zuma. If Mr Zuma is innocent, I believe the investigation will prove it and he will be a more popular leader in South Africa. I hope it will be an inspiration to young democracies everywhere.
Hariman Basnet, Kathmandu, Nepal

Of course it is. Now South Africa can redeem itself in the front of the world.
Ahmed Rahim, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Due to Jacob Zuma's popularity of late it was not an easy decision to make but ultimately President Mbeki's decision was the right thing to do. Africa has to show the world that it is serious about dealing with fraud and corruption if we are to progress. Our leaders have to learn to put the welfare of the country before their own pockets.
Mlungisi, Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa is fighting hard not to be seen as a corrupt basket case, as much of the West views Africa
Jorg Salomo, Johannesburg, South Africa
South Africa is fighting hard not to be seen as a corrupt basket case, as much of the West views Africa. Whilst Mr Zuma has not been convicted, leaving him in his post would have damaged SA hugely. This was the right and only possible move to keep SA on the right track.
Jorg Salomo, Johannesburg, South Africa

I think that the president's ruling was justified. However I wonder if he has done it for the right reasons. It's just a shame, as Mr Zuma would have been a good president.
Dhano, Johannesburg, South Africa

President Mbeki has demonstrated his commitment to stamp out the scourge of corruption and has definitely restored the honour and credibility of our democracy!
Omar, South Africa

Yes I think that the axing of our deputy president is good as it sends a clear message to all of those who are involved in corruption that we as South Africans will not tolerate it. It is good for our democracy and I feel proud to be South African today.
Mirriam Motsoko, Johannesburg, South Africa

A sensible decision by Mr Mbeki - it will help restore confidence in South Africa.
Gerard, UK

Very impressive. There is real hope for SA.
Ian Jennings, Berlin, Germany

Well done Mr Mbeki. This is a victory for South Africa as well as your Nepad initiatives.
Johan Fourie, Cape Town, South Africa




SEE ALSO:
Jail term for corrupt Zuma aide
08 Jun 05 |  Africa
Zuma: Bad days for Mr Nice Guy
14 Jun 05 |  Africa



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