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Fact check — Was Jacob Zuma’s presidency one of ‘9 amazing years’ as his daughter claims?

Fact check — Was Jacob Zuma’s presidency one of ‘9 amazing years’ as his daughter claims?
Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, daughter of former president Jacob Zuma and member of the MK party, at the IEC Results Operation Centre in Midrand. 30 May 2024. (Photo: Alet Pretorius)

In a video circulating on social media, former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla is shown being interviewed at the national elections results centre (ROC) after it emerged that the MK party had experienced unprecedented success at the polls. 

In the video, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla is asked by a journalist what kind of governance the MK party would bring to South Africa.

She replies: “The same kind of government that we had under President Zuma. Those 9 amazing years: very similar”.

In a different interview at the results centre, Zuma-Sambudla says that the MK party would endorse “doing what President Zuma did under his economy, which was great”.

Zuma-Sambudla obviously has a particular political axe to grind, but is there any truth to what she’s saying?

On the economy front, it is true that Jacob Zuma’s administration, which began in 2009, had to deal with the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Even so, however, in 2007, South Africa’s annual economic growth was at 5.4%. During the Zuma years, from 2009 to 2017, that growth collapsed to around 1.5% annually. It is impossible to blame the global economic crisis for nine years of depressed economic activity.

During the same period, unemployment rose from 22.5% to 27.5%. Electricity prices rose by 350% and total public debt doubled.

When Zuma took power in 2009, the number of service delivery protests as measured by Municipal IQ stood at 106 per year. By 2018, this had more than doubled to 237 per year.

Land reform is another issue that MK party representatives claim Zuma paid more attention to than any other leader.

But by the last year of the Zuma presidency, the budget for land reform was at an all-time low, with less than 0.1% of the national budget set aside for land redistribution. A presidential advisory panel appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he took office after Zuma found that the major beneficiaries of the land reform programme to that point had been politically connected urban businessmen.

Lastly, on poverty, former president Kgalema Motlanthe led a high-level panel in 2017 looking into various issues. This found that the percentage of South Africans living below the food poverty line increased from 21.4% in 2011 to 25.2% by 2015.

It is unclear, in other words, exactly what metrics Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla is relying on when she claims that the Zuma administration amounted to nine “amazing” years for South Africans. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Carl Nielsen says:

    I think she just said they were 9 amazing years. Nothing about them being amazing for South Africans?

  • John P says:

    They were amazing years, amazingly bad.

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    Delusional. Much like Biden. Serial liars, the lot of them.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Zuma and Trump are much more similar with their criminal cases hanging over them and their constant victimhood. Biden may be a dozy old man, but he’s not a criminal like Trump. That said, it’s frightening that the US only has a realistic choice between the two!

      • Paddy Ross says:

        The Presidents of the USA are essentially figureheads as it is the robustness of the administrative structure that keeps the US going. I would rather have a benign octogenarian president than a convicted dangerous narcissist.

    • Graeme Bird says:

      Hahahaha, fake news and betting you feel that the orange guy has never lied in his life. While they are both geriatrics, at least Biden has a few extra years to blame for his cognitive failures. Regardless Trump and Zuma are much more comparable as unbridled populists targeting under educated people to enrich themselves and their friends.

  • JAJ Stewart says:

    Grace Mugabe loading…

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Money grubber? Low IQ? Both?


  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    They were nine amazing years if you were a Zuma or a Gupta or one of their toady acolytes. Not for anyone else.

  • Jacques Siebrits says:

    @Malcolm McManus
    What does Biden have to do with this? The Trump zombies are really tedious.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      I suspect he may be poking a bit of fun at the people who constantly pull comparisons with trump into their comments on the post liberation ethno klepto muppetry that we have going on here. I’m sure you must have noticed them.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Showing that its not just African democracy that can be a failure. We have faulty leaders all over the democratic world. It amazes me how Democratic countries often end up with duds for leaders. A parallel of sorts, and worrisome for the outcomes of democracy in general. A troubling trend.

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        In fairness, despite Biden’s lefty cosplay the US still accounts for a quarter of the globes GDP. That makes them, relative to us, a fantastically successful failure.

        • Malcolm McManus says:

          Sure, Point taken. I think they have a historically more advanced system and well educated people within the system to make it work, despite its top leadership being lacking in certain aspects. We don’t share that luxury. Our leadership from top to bottom is lacking in far too many aspects.

        • Malcolm McManus says:

          Sure, Point taken. I think they have a historically more advanced system and well educated people within the system to make it work, despite its top leadership being lacking in certain aspects. We don’t share that luxury. Our leadership from top to bottom is lacking in far too many aspects.

  • Brian M says:

    One needs to take this from whence it comes.
    Certainly those 9 years were pretty awesome for her and her siblings.
    The rest of us, not so much.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    That mouth farting merited ‘fact checking’? Slow day at the the office perhaps?

  • R S says:

    They were 9 amazing years for the Zumas, the Guptas and their friends.

  • Maybe the number confusion runs in the family

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    It’s worth remembering that this princess was one of the key people who worked so hard to stoke the last insurrectionist free shopping festival that we had in her fathers honour. Also worth bearing in mind that neither SAPS nor the NPA have done a damn thing about it. R5 says they won’t and that will inevitably lead to the emboldening of her and her chronies and that more of the same violence will follow.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Well said. It is worrying that such a high percentage of our population support people like this, blindly, without concern for the adverse implications. It does not say much for the morals or mindset of our greater voting population as can be attested by the results of our elections.

      • Roger Burns says:

        Identity politics is very real. In this case Jacob Zuma and Zulu Nationalism. I would guess that this is the voter base of MK. I feel the MK voters have put identity politics ahead of morals or logic as to the impact on the country. This also goes for the 6 million ANC voters.

  • William Dryden says:

    I think she meant 9 amazing years of looting and filling her fathers trust fund which she undoubtably uses to show off her extravagant lifestyle.

  • TS HIGGO says:

    You have to admit that it’s amazing that a single family fiefdom and their close friends can cost the economy R1.5 trillion whilst billions go into the BEE black hole and yet the security and judicial establishment aren’t interested or capable of bringing them to justice

  • Dyllon Symington says:

    9 Amazing years for the Zupta’s, at the expense of the country!

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    This is a joke how we try analyze MK as a normal participant . This reverse take over of the ANC / insurrection has happened in plain sight. The riots and deaths of 360 odd people are at there door and nobody has been held accountable,these guys want the whole lot !!

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Just as I have serious concerns about Putin’s mental health, so Duduzille causes me concern.

  • Marcus Aurelius says:

    Elena Ceaușescu, Imelda Marcos, Jiang Qing, Elizabeth Báthory, Grace Mugabe, Mama Doc Duvalier, Lady Macbeth and Dudezile Zuma. All cut from the same gruesome cloth.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Those nine years were actually amazing.

    I was amazed that anybody could, in such a short time period, steal so much and break so many institutions! Other adjectives : stunning, gob-smacked, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, insane.

  • The real Ellon Must says:

    Amazing for the Zuma family yes. They all became obscenely rich off the backs of the poorest South Africans (Unemployment ad poverty line) They holiday in Dubai and fly to Russia for medical treatment. Their supporters die in “Care” facilities (Life Esidimeni) and sell their birthright 4 a T shirt

  • Graham Swan says:

    She is seriously delusional – but then again I suppose it was ‘9 amazing years’ for her and the Zuma clan with the billions now sitting in Dubai etc in their clutches….

  • Malusi Ndungane says:

    Fact checking? Ms Zuma provides no facts to check. She’s entitled to her opinion of course, even if few outside the Zuma circle would agree with her. Maybe she means that looting a the South African economy and transfering it via HSBC and others to Switzerland and Dubai was ‘amazing’

  • Just Me says:

    Zuma is one of the reasons why SA has lutched from bad to worse, under the ANC. From Apartheid to ANC kleptocracy.

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