Imprisoned former South African President Zuma’s tenure was marked by low trust and high perceived corruption

Governance

For former South African President Jacob Zuma, who this week entered prison under a 15- month sentence for boycotting an inquiry into high-level corruption, declining public trust and increasing perceptions of corruption marked his tenure well before it ended with his resignation in 2018.

In Afrobarometer’s last South Africa survey during Zuma’s 2009-2018 presidency, in 2015, popular trust in Zuma had fallen and perceived corruption in his office had risen dramatically.

Zuma was the least trusted among selected South African leaders and institutions, and his performance approval rating had plummeted. He was poorly rated on several performance indicators, including fighting corruption, reducing crime, creating jobs, narrowing income gaps, and keeping prices stable. Majorities also believed Zuma was rarely accountable to Parliament and the courts.