He is widely expected to be South Africa’s new president but Jacob Zuma’s ANC party is facing its toughest electoral challenge yet.
He has the backing of most in the country, including the enduring sympol of the anti-apartheid movement, former President Nelson Mandela. But corruption allegations and frustration with continuing poverty and rampant crime have undermined the ANC’s once unassailable predominance of South African politics. If elected he will succeed Kgalema Motlanthe, who has held the position since Thabo Mbeki was forced to stand down over claims he had interfered in a corruption case against Zuma. The ANC leader successfully fought off those allegations but they caused a damaging split within the party. Mbeki supporters broke away and are mounting a serious challenge to Zuma at the ballot box. The ANC is almost certain to get the parliamentary majority it needs to elect Zuma president. But some analysts believe it may not get the two-thirds majority it needs to have the reign in parliament that its enjoyed since the end of apartheid.