The president of South of Africa, Jacob Zuma, has resigned after days of challenging the orders from the ruling African National Congress to leave office. The former anti-apartheid activist, and has been South Africa’s president since 2009, was due to leave power next year.
Initially, Zuma inspired hope in millions of South Africans, especially hope amongst the poor. But his time in office was filled with numerous accusations of misconduct. Soon he would come to symbolize the corruption in South Africa.
In a televised address to the nation late on Wednesday, Zuma said he was a disciplined member of the ANC to which he had dedicated his life.
Hours before his resignation, Zuma sounded defiant and aggrieved during a live interview with the state broadcaster SABC.
He indicated strongly that he would not resign, claiming that the party’s effort to pull him from office was “unfair,” and that he was being “victimized,” and insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
“I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment … I will continue to serve the people of South Africa and the ANC. I will dedicate my life to continuing to work for the execution of the policies of our organization,” Zuma said.
Around noon, ANC officials announced they would vote for an opposition party’s no-confidence motion in parliament on Thursday.
Late in the afternoon, the president expressed his gratitude to the ANC and South Africans for the privilege of serving them and resigned.
Zuma, who became president in 2009, has faced allegations of corruption, money laundering, and fraud.
He served as the head of ANC from 2007 to December 2017. Zuma’s resignation gives Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the leadership of the ANC in December, the ability to be elected by parliament to the highest office.