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By Ed Cropley JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A week ago, South African President Jacob Zuma was a leader on the back foot, ridiculed in a front-page cartoon by a newspaper accusing him of blowing $20 million of public money on a security upgrade to his private home. Seven days later, he has gained some political respite through the death of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, an event of such enormity in the "Rainbow Nation" that Zuma's troubles could be banished from headlines well into next year. Seldom comfortable in set-piece events, Zuma delivered the news of Mandela's passing late on Thursday with rare gravitas - a very different figure from the cartoon character depicted sipping a cocktail and floating in a pool of cash in last week's Mail and Guardian newspaper. The weekly dealt Zuma a serious blow with a report alleging the security upgrade to his Nkandla home included a cattle enclosure and swimming pool - referred to in state documents as a "fire pool" on the grounds it could double up as a water reservoir for fire-fighting purposes.