Jean-Jacques Cornish

Pressure on Zuma unrelenting ahead of parliamentary impeachment vote

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has held crisis talks to discuss the fallout from a court ruling last week that President Jacob Zuma  breached the Constitution, triggering calls for him to resign.

Pressure on Zuma remains unrelenting as Parliament prepares today to debate an opposition resolution to impeach the president over the judgment that he effectively broke his oath of office.

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The ANC backed Zuma after the Constitutional Court rebuked him for ignoring Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s order that he pay back some of the nearly 20 million euros spent on upgrading his private home.

The scandal, one of several which have dogged Zuma over the past decade, could strain relations between the ANC and its allies the South African Communist Party  and labour federation Cosatu, which have helped it to retain power since the fall of apartheid in 1994.

Analysts say the Constitutional Court ruling is a blow to Zuma’s credibility and could harm the ANC ahead of municipal elections due between May and August.

The biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, knows that the ruling party’s impeachment motion will be dashed up against the ANC’s 62 percent parliamentary majority.

But it also knows that growing anger against Zuma, expressed by the soldier’s trade union calling for his resignation, threatens to erode that majority.

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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.