Nelson Mandela Foundation Denounces South African President

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is calling for South African President Jacob Zuma to be removed from office. The foundation (which advocates for conflict resolutions, public health, and equality) believes that under Zuma’s leadership, the system has become corrupt. An excerpt from the organization’s press release reads:

“Twenty years since Nelson Mandela signed South Africa’s Constitution into law and as the third anniversary of his passing approaches, it is painful for us at the Nelson Mandela Foundation to bear witness to the wheels coming off the vehicle of our state. We have seen a weakening of critical institutions such as the South African Revenue Service, the National Prosecuting Authority and law enforcement bodies due to political meddling for private interests.”

There is definitely some truth to these claims. For example, back in the spring of 2016, South Africa’s highest court ordered Zuma to repay the $16 million in government funds that he used to purchase a private estate in Nkandla. After the official judicial ruling, Zuma apologized for his actions, but claimed he never “knowingly and deliberately” violated the country’s constitution.

To make matters worse, just last month he was accused of trying to oust Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was a “vocal opponent of corruption and excessive spending by President Jacob Zuma’s government.” But Zuma’s misconduct dates all the way back to his pre-presidency career.

Former-president Thabo Mbeki removed Zuma as his deputy president back in 2005 due corruption charges. After years of investigation, the High Court only recently declared that Zuma be brought up on 783 counts of racketeering.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation faces a huge risk by publicly decrying President Zuma. In a country with high political tensions, it’s possible that the foundation could face physical, verbal, and financial threats. South Africa has also come under fire for Internet censorship, and it’s possible the government might try to cover up the foundation’s recent press release.