Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zuma’s 25-year-old daughter gets top government job

There are concerns about political nepotism in South Africa where President Jacob Zuma’s 25-year-old daughter’s been appointed chief of staff at the department of telecommunications and postal services.

The department insists it only considered her capacity to do the job and her qualifications. And that her genealogy was never a consideration.

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Thuthukile Zuma is the daughter of President Jacob Zuma and and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, currently head of the African Union Commission, from whom he is divorced.

The 25 year-old has a bachelor degree with honours in anthropology.

She worked briefly in an unpaid capacity at the offices of the ruling African National Congress.

A year ago she was a public liaison officer at the department of state security.

She followed the minister Siyabonga Cwele from state security when President Jacob Zuma moved him to head the telecommunications department this year.

Departmental spokesman Siya Qoza says Zuma’s daughter was promoted to the million-rand-a-year job becauase of her capacity for the position.

Qoza says there haven’t been complaints from within the department about her appointment

The Mail and Guardian reports the post was never advertised.

It says chiefs of staff positions in other government department usually require applicants to have at least ten year’s experience in senior management.



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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.