South Africa’s Zuma fi­nally forced to quit

Irish Daily Mail - - News - Mail For­eign Ser­vice

JA­COB Zuma fi­nally re­signed South Africa’s pres­i­dency last night fol­low­ing calls by the rul­ing African Na­tional Congress to end his nine scan­dal-plagued years in power.

Mr Zuma quit in a live ad­dress to the na­tion – still say­ing he dis­agreed with the way he had been pushed into an early exit.

His party, the ANC, had pre­vi­ously de­manded he re­sign fol­low­ing the elec­tion of Cyril Ramaphosa as his suc­ces­sor. In a 30-minute farewell ad­dress, the 75-year-old, who is fac­ing around 800 counts of cor­rup­tion, ad­mit­ted he ‘must ac­cept’ the ANC’s de­ci­sion to re­place him.

Mr Zuma had pre­vi­ously re­fused to hand over the pres­i­dency and a vote of no-con­fi­dence was sched­uled to take place to­day.

The ANC’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee gave him one last chance to re­sign on Tues­day when it de­liv­ered a let­ter to his home urg­ing him to quit.

The fail­ure to re­move Mr Zuma after a tu­mul­tuous nine years in power threat­ened to un­der­mine the party which has been in power for al­most 24 years. In a ram­bling interview with state broad­caster SABC yes­ter­day, Mr Zuma re­fused he was de­fy­ing the ANC lead­er­ship. He said: ‘I don’t agree, as there is no ev­i­dence of if I have done any­thing wrong.’

De­spite pre­sent­ing him­self as an anti-apartheid vet­eran, Mr Zuma’s wan­ing po­lit­i­cal cre­den­tials were con­firmed last De­cem­ber when Mr Ramaphosa re­placed him as rul­ing party leader.

In 2006, Mr Zuma was ac­quit­ted of rap­ing a fam­ily friend. He is still chal­leng­ing al­most 800 counts of cor­rup­tion over a gov­ern­ment arms deal from the late 1990s when he was deputy pres­i­dent.

Mr Zuma was fur­ther em­bar­rassed when he failed to re­pay pub­lic money he had used to ren­o­vate his home. But de­spite his un­pop­u­lar­ity within the party, he re­tains strong sup­port in poor ru­ral ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly among his Zulu tribe.

Mr Zuma was re-elected for a sec­ond five-year term in 2014. His res­ig­na­tion ends the ca­reer of the for­mer anti-apartheid re­sis­tance fighter, who has four wives, a sharp tongue and a decades-long his­tory of en­tan­gle­ment in scan­dals that po­larised Nel­son Man­dela’s ‘Rain­bow Na­tion’.

Mr Ramaphosa, a self-made bil­lion­aire, will now as­sume the South African pres­i­dency with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Pres­sure: Ja­cob Zuma

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