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South African President Zuma resigns

South African President Jacob Zuma has resigned after more than a week of intense pressure from his party to step down.

With just an hour left ahead of a Wednesday midnight deadline to resign or face a no-confidence vote, Zuma finally did what he swore he would not do: He quit.

Jacob Zuma

Had he not done so, he would have faced what was likely to be an embarrassing, messy no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday, bolstered by the African National Congress, the party that brought him into the presidency in 2009.

On Tuesday, the party recalled him, a move they expected to provoke his immediate resignation. When that didn't happen, ANC lawmakers lobbied for a planned no-confidence vote to be moved earlier, to Thursday.

Zuma rendered that unnecessary in his 20-minute address to the nation.

"I have, therefore, come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect," he said.

"Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC. As I leave, I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organization I have served all of my life, in it."

However, he retained the tone of defiance he had exhibited earlier in the day, when he accused the party of being "unfair."

"I do not fear exiting political office," he said. "However, I have only asked my party to articulate my transgressions and the reason for its immediate instruction that I vacate office. This was important in view of the discussions I had with the president of the ANC and the secretary-general of the party that were aimed at uniting our organization, the ANC."

ANC response

The ANC welcomed the resignation and thanked Zuma for his nine years as president. Zuma's final presidential term was set to end in mid-2019. The ANC leadership has argued in the past week, though, that he needed to leave sooner. The party has lost ground in recent elections, largely due to Zuma's growing unpopularity.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte praised Zuma's efforts in bringing key developments to the nation still riven by inequality less than three decades after the end of apartheid.

"While we acknowledge mistakes that may have been committed, President Zuma leaves a legacy of delivery in many critical areas," she said.

Duarte also encouraged lawmakers to support Zuma's deputy and successor as leader of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa. Parliament has said they hope to swear-in a new president by Friday morning at the latest, and have the new leader deliver the State of the Nation address Friday night.

Corruption scandals

But Zuma also leaves behind bitterness and many questions. Zuma had maintained that the ANC has never told him what he did wrong to deserve a recall from his party or a no-confidence vote.

When asked directly after his resignation, Duarte did not specify what Zuma's "mistakes" may have been. But for years, Zuma has been mired in ever deeper, ever wider corruption scandals. For years, members of the party — including Duarte — vociferously defended him in the face of criticism and against eight no-confidence votes in parliament.

But those allegations are threatening to be resurrected in court, and make a quiet retirement unlikely for Zuma: He could face numerous corruption investigations, including a pending case that includes 783 charges of corruption.


+1 #1 Zaitun 2018-02-15 10:36
Was it it fair on your ^part when you and your acolytes lobbied to evict Mr Thambo Mbeki from the presidency while aided by the grossly conducted justice decision that left a lot to be desired?

What you thought was a fine decision against Mbeki shall now torture you psychologically. Only the Musevenis can buy off judges!
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+2 #2 PaLugore 2018-02-15 11:32
Late last year, it was Mugabe, early this year, its is Jacob Zuma. The tide of change is unstoppable in the wider Africa.

Museveni will not survive this tide, despite age limit removal. Watch this space.
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-1 #3 Ocaya pOcure 2018-02-15 15:37

SADLY, the pathetic political postures in South Africa must be quite disturbing because the grandchildren of apartheid rulers have been left to go scot-free of brutal genocide since the very brutal apartheid system came to the whole of Southern African sub-region.

YES, as usual it must turned out to be again that, Africans the very victims of apartheid that is being punished when his purported sins are not much worse than those committed or done during the massacres era of apartheid regime!

Ocaya pOcure
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-1 #4 Ocaya pOcure 2018-02-15 15:38
COMMON, Good damn it, truly injustice and, or justice must have colours in the African continent!

How come that Jacob Zuma must be punished regarding his infamous sins of corruption meanwhile those who committed genocide against humanity must be set free even those who accepted their criminal actions without mincing words?

Ocaya pOcure
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