Still no clarity on what is ailing Zuma

2014-06-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — President Jacob Zuma’s mysterious pain in the neck has the rumour mills working overtime about the precise nature of his ailment.

A visit in January to a cardiologist in Durban was reportedly only a routine check-up.

South Africa’s 72-year-old president was suddenly hospitalised last weekend when he complained about a pain in the neck while he was delivering his speech during the cabinet’s lekgotla.

His speech was stopped and he was taken to a Pretoria hospital for a check-up. Zuma was discharged on Monday and is currently resting on ANC orders at his private estate in Nkandla.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma was not sick, just tired. He said the hospital had run complete tests and the doctors had been happy with the results.

They consequently sent Zuma home, where he is now resting.

Maharaj said the many rumours about the president’s health were malicious.

“There is nothing wrong [with Zuma] that a little bit of rest won’t sort out.”

Zuma will however not attend the nationwide Youth Day celebrations on June 16. His place will be taken by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa also addressed Nehawu members on Friday and took Zuma’s place at the cabinet lekgotla, which continues until tomorrow.

Ramaphosa’s increasing role in the place of the Zuma reminds strongly of the period when Zuma increasingly filled in for former president Thabo Mbeki before he was ousted.

“If the ANC was looking for a way to replace Zuma, the health excuse will be the best way as it causes the least embarrassment,” said one senior state official, who wanted to remain anonymous.

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