Three Office Appointments That Totally Backfired On Zuma

• Thuli Madonsela: It was expected that the public protector would remain a harmless chapter 9 institution without speaking truth to power. Madonsela changed that, and delivered the reports that probed Zuma’s Nkandla pile and the capture of the state-owned enterprises under his leadership. It set the tone for some of the most damaging court findings against Zuma and the executive.

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• Mogoeng Mogoeng: When Zuma appointed Mogoeng as leader of the judiciary, there were fears that the chief justice was too conservative and would be a lapdog of the president — as he was depicted in a Zapiro cartoon. Under Mogoeng’s leadership the judiciary has stayed fiercely independent, and made landmark judgments in terms of keeping the executive on its toes. It was Mogoeng who wrote and delivered the unanimous 2016 judgment in which the constitutional court found that Zuma had failed to “uphold, respect and protect” the constitution in the way he dealt with the public protector’s State of Capture report on Nkandla.

• Mxolisi Nxasana: The former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) was appointed in 2013, but was worked out with the help of a golden handshake a mere two years into his 10-year term. Civil society bodies took the fight to court and Nxasana in an affidavit openly accused the president of lying about the circumstances that forced him to leave office. Nxasana said he believed his departure was linked to the possible corruption charges against Zuma and that some feared that he would reinstate them. That unlawful settlement agreement between Zuma and Nxasana has now been set aside. As a result, Zuma has been found to be too conflicted to appoint an NDPP as possible fraud, corruption and racketeering charges still loom against him.

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