While I can't say for sure the new guy will be any better on HIV/AIDS denialism, it's hard to image he'd be worse than South African President Thabo Mbeki, who just lost power.
The new guy sounds like a nutbag, but maybe we can see this issue, which negatively affects the lives of millions of South Africans, improve under new leadership. The LA Times coverage suggests Zuma will be more assertive on AIDS, but at the same time, there are serious criminal allegations against him and some really disgusting behaviors and actions which diminish enthusiasm.
Time will tell.
I am South African and work within the HIV/AIDS field and I am going to be honest here, we are screwed. The new guy, Jacob Zuma, believes that if you take a shower after having sex then it washes the HIV virus away. This is the guy who was charged with rape, and to make it even better, he knew that she was HIV positive beforehand. But then he went out to the nation and said that was okay because YOU CAN JUST TAKE A SHOWER. So better than Thabo Mbeki? I think not. I would rather have Mbeki back any day. Zuma will not be more assertive with AIDS and quite frankly, I see his election as leader as a very dark day for my country.
I was concerned when I heard that story. Our news sources will of course report what he says, which is that he'll take AIDS more seriously. Clearly though, what he's saying and what he'll actually do are likely quite different.
That and he's a bit of a nutjob. But you never know. He might be a total crank, but if he appoints a legitimate health minister it might make a big difference.
Mbeki is not out, he is still president of South Africa and could remain so until 2009. What's happened is that he is no longer the president of the ANC, which just lowers his political power somewhat.
As much as I'm appalled with Mbeki's stance on HIV, annoyed with his attitude towards Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and concerned with some other somewhat dictatorial moves he's made politically, I'd much, MUCH prefer him as president over Zuma.
As someone who actually liked Jacob Zuma as recently as five years ago, the best I can say about him now is that he is an incompetent fool. At the time I strongly suspected the rape charges against him were false, and I was glad he was not found guilty. However as Candice mentioned above he didn't exactly come out of the incident with his reputation intact.
More worryingly is the current corruption investigation, and here is think he might actually be guilty. Even if he doesn't get charged and sentenced, at best he's going to come across as someone who cannot even keep his own affairs in order. I do not want this man as president of my country.
From Mandela to Mbeki to Zuma. Exceptional to embarrassing in just three presidents.
Thabo Mbeki is at least a more systematic person and considers the opinions/researches on both sides.