President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has resigned, a decision he delivered in a message to the nation on Wednesday evening in Pretoria.
Zuma has resisted pressure from the African National Congress as his party called for him to step down, and claimed to be unmoved by plans for a no-confidence vote planned for Thursday if he failed to resign. In an interview just hours before the announcement he still maintained he would not do so, and made clear in his speech that he disagreed with the ANC National Executive Committee demands.
“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” Zuma said. “Even though I disagree with the decision,” he added, “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.”
South African state broadcaster SABC said the new president will be formally announced by Friday with the country’s delayed State of the Nation address scheduled for Friday night. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is serving as acting president in the interim and is expected to be nominated in parliament as Zuma’s replacement, the ANC said in a statement.
“The ANC extends its gratitude to President Zuma for having served the country in this capacity for the last nine years‚ particularly for the contribution he has made to progress in improving the lives of ordinary South Africans,” the ANC response said.
Zuma has been at the center of South African corruption investigations that link him to the wealthy Gupta families, their business dealings, and South African state entities including the country’s Eskom utility provider. The president announced in January that, after lengthy delays and legal maneuvers, he was appointing a commission of inquiry into the corruption allegations raised in the country’s 2016 State of Capture report.
Image: Presidency of the Republic of South Africa file