Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zuma escaped bid to unseat him

After what the general secretary of the ruling African National Congress called a robust and difficult debate earlier this week, South African President Jacob Zuma has kept his job.

Gwede Mantashe insisted there wasn’t any no confidence debate and the decision of the ANC’s National Executive Committee was taken on consensus.

No fewer than four members of his Cabinet called for President Jacob Zuma, decimated by a series of corruption allegations against him, to stand down.

The consensus in the National Executive Committee, which has never voted on an issue, went in Zuma’s favour.

ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe says there will be no vengeance  sought against them within the NEC.

What they say and do in Cabinet could, however, determine their political futures.

The plot to unseat Zuma came as a complete surprise to some senior members who raced to the NEC meeting that was extended into a fourth day on Monday.

It was far and away the most serious threat Zuma has faced since coming to power in 2009.

Months earlier, the party that has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994 “recalled” President Thabo Mbeki for marginalising  the leadership.

Zuma retains the presidency despite having been  found by the Constitutional Court to have disregarded his constitutional obligation as chief executive.

He has taken decisions that have cost South Africans billions of rands and led the party to sharp political setbacks in local elections earlier this year.



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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.