South Africa’s president is tottering


THE death of a struggle hero brought the great and good of South Africa together in mourning. Ahmed Kathrada, who was sentenced to life on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela, died on March 28th. His funeral at a Johannesburg cemetery drew former presidents, sitting cabinet ministers, the chief justice of the highest court and the leaders of the African National Congress (ANC). There was one conspicuous absence: Jacob Zuma. Instead, the man who had preceded him as South African president read from a letter in which Mr Kathrada, in a final act of resistance, called on Mr Zuma to resign. The crowd of mourners erupted in cheers.Such is the tenor of opposition to Mr Zuma, who has an approval rating of just 20% among urban South Africans (though higher among rural ones). Even those who backed him through countless scandals are now calling for him to quit. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears, with the president growing ever more defiant. A day after the funeral, Mr Zuma reshuffled his cabinet, firing the respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, and replacing them with cronies. In doing so, Mr Zuma defied warnings from his own party and the markets. Mr Gordhan had…Continue reading
Source: Economist