Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

Mr Jacob Zuma
Current Portfolio: 

President (2009-)

Portfolio History: 
  • Deputy President (1999-2005)
  • President of the ANC (2007-)
Background: 

President of the Republic of South Africa since April 2009, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma served as deputy president to Thabo Mbeki between 1999 and 2005. Prior to that, he was member of the executive council (MEC) for economic affairs and tourism in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature. An ANC stalwart and Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) militant from his early youth, Zuma was sentenced under the Terrorism Act to a ten year sentence on Robben Island in 1963. He went into exile in 1975. During the ensuing years, Zuma played a pivotal role in re-establishing and strengthening the ANC’s underground structures in South Africa from several different bases across the continent. He was appointed to the executive committee of the ANC in exile in 1977, and as head of intelligence ten years later. On returning to South Africa in 1990, Zuma was instrumental in negotiating the release of political prisoners and ensuring that the country’s political refugees could return home. The agreement concerned became known as the Groote Schuur Minute. He was elected deputy secretary general of the ANC in 1991 and, in his capacity as chairman of it’s southern Natal region, played a key role in securing peace in that then troubled part of the country. Zuma became national chairman of the ANC in 1994, the organisation’s deputy president in 1997 and its president in 2007. He has helped to facilitate peace agreements in several strife-torn African countries, including Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.