Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, born on 12 April 1942 in Inkandla, South Africa, is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party’s victory in the 2009 general election. Zuma engaged in politics at an early age and joined the African National Congress in 1959. He became an active member of Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1962, following the banning of the ANC in 1961.
Zuma is the President of the African National Congress (ANC), the governing political party, and was Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 to 2005. Zuma is also referred to by his initials JZ and his clan name Msholozi. Zuma became the President of the ANC on 18 December 2007 after defeating incumbent Thabo Mbeki at the ANC conference in Polokwane. Zuma is also a lifelong member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), briefly serving on the party’s Politburo until 1990.
Zuma has faced significant legal challenges. He was charged with rape in 2005, but was acquitted. In addition, he fought a long legal battle over allegations of racketeering and corruption, resulting from his financial advisor Schabir Shaik’s conviction for corruption and fraud. On 6 April 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority decided to drop the charges citing political interference.