It’s not a good sign when your country’s leader is listed with Donald Trump‚ whose approval rating hovers at around 40 percent.
President Jacob Zuma was bestowed that dubious honour recently‚ when Time Magazine compiled a list of five world leaders less popular with its citizens than the embattled American president.
South Africans with a penchant for dark comedy will be heartened to see Zuma making the cut‚ with Time pegging his approval rating “at an all-time low of 20 percent” in the seven major metropolitan areas. More eye-popping is the number of South Africans who want him to resign: an astounding 70 percent.
While the article lists the country’s slumping economy as part of the reason for the low approval ratings‚ it also points to the man himself as the biggest cause.
“But it’s Zuma himself who’s the bigger problem‚” the article reads‚ listing the nearly 800 charges of corruption against him‚ his patronage networks and the expelling of well-respected ministers as part of myriad reasons to account for only one in five urban South Africans supporting the president.
“Zuma’s term runs through 2019 – for most South Africans‚ change can’t come soon enough‚” the article concludes.
The other four listed include Michele Temer of Brazil‚ Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro‚ Najib Razak of Malaysia and Alexis Tsipras of Greece.
South Africans might be comforted that at least Zuma hasn’t overseen crises on the scale of some of the above leaders: Maduro endures daily violent protests and inflation of over 800 percent last year while at the same time defanging the national legislature.
Temer may find himself the second Brazilian president in a row to be impeached after recordings emerged linking him to the far-reaching Lavo Jato graft scandal. Brazil is also in its worst recession after two consecutive years of the GDP contracting more than seven percent.