The emergence of Nelson Mandela to power in South Africa enabled people in that country to point with pride to a man who embodied every concept associated with human rights. In 1993, Mandela pledged “human rights will be the light that guides our foreign affairs.” Jacob Zuma has not been prominent in any aspect of human rights and strongly opposed granting a visa to the Dalai Lama because of fear it would damage his nation’s ability to secure Chinese investment. Perhaps, the strongest failure on the part of South African governments in recent years has been their continued support for Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial rule in Zimbabwe which has ruined that nation’s economy as well as driven millions to flee. At several points, Zuma did criticize Mugabe, but in the end gave him support.
There is also fear within South Africa if Zuma will use power to oppress those in opposition to the African National Congress. If Zuma goes down that road it will inevitably lead to a white flight along with money and business investments. Hopefully, he does not follow the lead of his friend in Zimbabwe who allow hatred and power to over-ride his need to respect human rights.