Mbeki's campaign for more G8 aid to Africa is hit by struggle over his scandal-ridden deputy - Africa - World - The Independent

Mbeki's campaign for more G8 aid to Africa is hit by struggle over his scandal-ridden deputy

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is trying to convince G8 leaders that more aid to Africa will not be pilfered by the continent's corrupt rulers, is facing the toughest decision of his presidency: what to do with his own embattled deputy, Jacob Zuma.

Mr Zuma has refused to resign after a South African court last week imposed a 15-year jail sentence on a businessman accused of paying him more than £100,000 in exchange for business favours. Not only has Mr Mbeki so far refused to fire his deputy, straight after the verdict he named Mr Zuma as his stand-in while he went to Chile.

The South African leader has diligently lobbied G8 leaders to back Tony Blair's project for rich countries to fork out another $25bn in annual aid to Africa. The Prime Minister's initiative rests on the assumption that Africa has developed the capacity to absorb huge amounts of aid without it being lost to the continent's legendary corruption.

As leader of Africa's largest economy and most stable state, many say, Mr Mbeki must show that corruption will not be tolerated, helping to still the many critics of Mr Blair's plan in G8 countries. But firing Mr Zuma risks a split in the ruling ANC.

"Few people would choose to be Deputy President Zuma right now. But fewer still would want to be in the position of President Mbeki," wrote one political analyst, Vukani Mde.

Unlike the intellectual Mr Mbeki, who is considered aloof and cold by the party rank and file, the charming Mr Zuma commands grassroots support in the ANC. Although he has no formal education, he is a skilled negotiator, brokering a deal that ended widespread violence in KwaZulu Natal and saved the country's first free elections in 1994.

In line with ANC tradition, Mr Zuma was seen as the automatic successor to Mr Mbeki when the President's term ends in 2008, and his supporters insist they will fight any attempt to block his succession. The South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Mr Mbeki's partners in his ruling tripartite alliance, have declared unconditional support for his deputy.

The influential ANC youth league has gone even further, attacking the integrity of the judge in the corruption case. Hillary Squires, a former justice minister under the Ian Smith regime in UDI-era Rhodesia, was described as an "old, white apartheid judge" recruited in a "shady scheme" to block Mr Zuma's ascent to the presidency.

Even Nelson Mandela has come out in support of the Deputy President, after Mr Zuma paid what was described as a "courtesy call" on the country's most revered figure.

Dismayed speculation in the press - Business Day said it was "one of the worst calls of his long political life" - had it that Mr Mandela was seeking to preserve ANC unity above all. But there is no doubt that Mr Zuma has succeeded in a charm offensive to reinforce his support in the party and complicate any decision to fire him.

Even commentators who oppose Mr Mbeki strongly have acknowledged his dilemma. "If Mbeki were to act as swiftly as many are demanding, he could cause an almighty rumpus in the ANC," wrote the usually anti-Mbeki Citizen newspaper in an editorial. "Therefore we expect a slow, methodical exit for Zuma. But he must go or Mbeki's legacy as Africa's leading light will be ruined."

Instead of firing Mr Zuma tomorrow, as some reports are speculating, sources say Mr Mbeki might seek first to mobilise support within the party. Whether he can do that before the G8 summit at Gleneagles next month is another matter.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week