South Africa’s Zuma finally forced to quit
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