Topic Of The Day:-“Change of guard: On Jacob Zuma’s ouster”

Jacob Zuma’s resignation as South Africa’s President brings an opportunity to start cleaning up its government and institutions. The ‘Teflon’ president, a moniker the 75-year-old earned for his survival skills, finally gave in to weeks of pressure from his own party, the African National Congress, ending an almost nine-year-long, scandal-hit presidency marred by hundreds of allegations and charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering. Despite having survived eight no-confidence motions, Mr. Zuma had little choice this time as his own party asked him to resign, with ANC legislators looking inclined towards even a no-confidence motion against him in parliament. The growing pressure on Mr. Zuma was also visible on some of those who allegedly colluded with him, notably the India-born Gupta brothers whose home in the swish Saxonwold suburb of Johannesburg was raided by the police on Wednesday. The trio — Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta — whose business interests range from mining to media and technology have been accused of using their ties with Mr. Zuma to enable “state capture” by possessing inside information, influencing ministerial appointments and swinging multimillion-dollar state contracts. The timing of the raids was hardly a coincidence. The ANC is only too aware of the need to get its house in order before the 2019 general election. Putting Mr. Zuma through a no-confidence motion would have further exposed a party that went from leading South Africa out of apartheid to administering a system and country characterised by high levels of inequality and corruption and a flagging economy, with 30% unemployment and low growth. The way is now clear for the reformist veteran Cyril Ramaphosa, the new President. He has been a trade union leader, a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement and a close associate of Nelson Mandela. He led the effort to draft the country’s new constitution in 1994 and was an MP in the first post-apartheid parliament. With the ANC choosing Thabo Mbeki as Mandela’s successor in 1999, Mr. Ramaphosa’s presidential ambitions were dashed, and he focussed on his businesses instead — today, he is one of South Africa’s wealthiest black businessmen. In December, he won a close and bitter contest against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mr. Zuma’s ex-wife, to become ANC’s leader, and has now been given a shot at leading South Africa. Mr. Ramaphosa has spoken of a new phase and about prioritising the economy. This, in addition to his background in politics and business, gives reason to believe that South Africa has a significant opportunity for a change in direction and speed. However, whether and to what extent the new leadership will allow the law to independently take its course with regard to Mr. Zuma remains to be seen.


1) Blown the lid off

Meaning: To cause something bad that was previously kept secret to be known by the public.

Example: In 1989 they started an investigation that was to blow the lid off corruption in the police force.

Synonyms: Reveal

Antonyms: Conceal

2) Perpetrated

Meaning: Carry out or commit (a harmful, illegal, or immoral action).

Example: “a crime has been perpetrated against a sovereign state”

Synonyms: Commit, Perform

3) Maverick

Meaning: An unorthodox or independent-minded person.

Example: “he’s the maverick of the senate”

Synonyms: Original, Eccentric

Antonyms: Conformist

4) Defrauded

Meaning: Illegally obtain money from (someone) by deception.

Example: “he used a second identity to defraud the bank of thousands of pounds”

Synonyms: Swindle, Cheat

5) Astounding

Meaning: Shock or greatly surprise.

Example: “her bluntness astounded him”

Synonyms: Amaze, Astonish

6) Heightened

Meaning: Make or become more intense.

Example: “the pleasure was heightened by the sense of guilt that accompanied it”

Synonyms: Intensify, Increase

Antonyms: Reduce

7) Ostensibly

Meaning: As appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; apparently.

Example: “the party secretary resigned, ostensibly from ill health”

Synonyms: Apparently, Seemingly

Antonyms: Genuinely, Really

8) Verge

Meaning: An extreme limit beyond which something specified will happen.

Example: “I was on the verge of tears”

Synonyms: Brink, Threshold

Antonyms: Middle

9) Pile

Meaning: A large amount of something.

Example: “he’s making piles of money”

Synonyms: Wealth, Profusion

10) Crony

Meaning: A close friend or companion.

Example: “he went gambling with his cronies”

11) Starved

Meaning: Deprive of something necessary.

Example: “the arts are being starved of funds”

12) Injected

Meaning: To introduce something new that is necessary or helpful to a situation or process.

Example: A large amount of money will have to be injected into the company if it is to survive.

13) Incurring

Meaning: Become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.

Example: “I will pay any expenses incurred”

Synonyms: Suffer, Sustain

Antonyms: Avoid

14) Promptly

Meaning: With little or no delay; immediately.

Example: “he paid the fine promptly”

Synonyms: Punctually, Quickly

15) Handful

Meaning: A small number of people or things.

Example: She invited all her friends to her party, but only a handful of them turned up.

16) Orchestrate

Meaning: Plan or coordinate the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, especially surreptitiously.

Example: “the situation has been orchestrated by a tiny minority”

Synonyms: Organize, Arrange

17) Lapses

Meaning: A decline from previously high standards.

Example: “tracing his lapse into petty crime”

Synonyms: Decline, Downturn

18) Meteoric

Meaning: (of the development of something) very rapid.

Example: “her meteoric rise to the top of her profession”

Synonyms: Rapid, Swift

Antonyms: Slow, Gradual

19) Offing

Meaning: Leave.

Example: “supposedly loyal workers suddenly upped and offed to the new firms”

20) Buyouts

Meaning: (in business) a situation in which a person or group buys all the shares belonging to a company and so gets control of it.

Example: A management buyout.