JOHANNESBURG

South African President Jacob Zuma’s battle to stay in office despite the ruling ANC party reportedly asking him to step down is the latest in a long history of career controversies.

Here are five of his biggest scandals:

  • Rape charges and HIV

Before taking office, Zuma was put on trial in 2006 for rape, in a case that dismayed many South Africans.

Zuma said the sex with the 31-year-old family friend was consensual and he was acquitted.

But he told the court he had showered to avoid contracting HIV after having unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser — a common but dangerous myth.

Zuma was head of the South African National AIDS Council at the time, and was pilloried for his ignorance.

He is still mocked in newspaper cartoons, which often depict him with a shower nozzle sprouting from his bald head.

Nearly a fifth of South Africans aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive.

  • Nkandla costs

Zuma was found by the country’s graft watchdog in 2014 to have “benefited unduly” from so-called security upgrades to his rural Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal province. It said he should refund some of the money.

The work, paid for with taxpayers’ money, cost $24 million (22 million euros) and included a swimming pool, which was described as a fire-fighting facility, a chicken run, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre and a visitors’ centre.

For two years, Zuma fought the order to repay part of the money. The scandal came to dominate his presidency — with opposition lawmakers chanting “Pay back the money!” every time he appeared in parliament.

In March 2016 he was ordered by the Constitutional Court to pay back the cash and suffered a stinging rebuke from the justices who accused him of failing to respect and uphold the constitution.

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