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After seven years in office building a bulwark against his opponents by loading pivotal posts with his cronies – and avoiding answering charges of corruption and fraud – the leader of the ANC may yet stand trial These are dark days for South Africa.

Exports are falling; commodity prices are falling; the rand has slumped.

He could appoint a new police chief; a new national director of prosecutions; a new head of the secret service; and the head of the new Hawks unit, which would replace the special police force, the Scorpions.

In addition to this, the position of chief executive at the state-owned enterprises Transnet and SAA were vacant and he would be called on to appoint a new board to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

One of Zuma’s first acts was to re-organise SA’s intelligence structures into one department, which was to fall under the control of a new intelligence minister, Siyabonga Cwele.

Bheki Cele, then a loyal supporter from Zuma’s home province of Kwa Zulu Natal, was made commissioner of police in July 2009, despite widespread misgivings about the appropriateness of his cowboy style for so serious a job.

Zuma’s tortured journey to the top of South African politics began when he was made deputy president under Thabo Mbeki.

Months after the finance minister delivered a draconian austerity budget, the defence minister confirmed in May that the purchase will go ahead of a shining new presidential jet, whose value has been estimated at £1.75m.Another loyal lieutenant, Menzi Simelane, was made the national director of public prosecutions amid an uproar.While director-general of justice, Simelane had testified at an inquiry into the fitness of Vusi Pikoli to hold office as prosecutions boss.Again a High Court judge, WJ van der Merwe, had strong words for Zuma, saying: “It is totally unacceptable that a man should have unprotected sex with any person other than his regular partner and definitely not with a person who to his knowledge is HIV positive."I do not even want to comment on the effect of a shower after having had unprotected sex.

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