The book, “Time Is Not the Measure,” is written by Vusi Mavimbela, one of Mbeki's former advisors at the time.
According to the author, the then incoming president Mbeki believed that the primary school leaver Zuma lacked the capacity (higher education) and that his leadership would result in corruption being institutionalised in government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In the book, Mavimbela, a former ANC and government intelligence chief, documents his life story, including his work in the movement.
Although it is widely known that Mbeki at one stage considered opposition Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi as his deputy in a deal that would have given the ANC control over the then IFP-run KwaZulu-Natal Province, it had never been revealed why Mbeki was so reluctant to choose Zuma – until now.
In the book, Mavimbela writes that Mbeki told him, just before his 1999 inauguration as president, that he was uncomfortable with having Zuma as his deputy president.
"He felt Zuma lacked capacity. But he needed a good reason not to appoint Zuma. Thabo Mbeki said to me that under Zuma's leadership, corruption would be institutionalised and become normal in government and the ANC," he writes.
Of course, as history goes, Zuma did become Mbeki’s deputy, then ousted his boss (Mbeki) before the latter’s second term ended to take over the country’s presidency. But, as life has it, Zuma’s controversial tenure in the high office led to his own unceremonious ouster on corruption allegations of state capture.