After intense pressure, Jacob Zuma, yesterday, resigned as President of South Africa. Zuma’s resignation came on the heels of orders by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to bring an end to his nine years in power. His resignation paves the way for Cyril Ramaphosa to take over power. Zuma came under intense pressure after Cyril Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old lawyer and one of the richest black South Africans, emerged as the leader of the party in December.
Prior to the emergence of the ANC leader, Zuma’s reign has been plagued with scandal following widespread allegations of corruption leveled against him. In a 30-minute farewell address to the nation, 75-year-old Zuma nonetheless said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him towards an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December. Mr Zuma said he would leave office with immediate effect despite disagreeing with the ANC’s order for him to resign. “I do not fear exiting political office, however I have asked the party to articulate my transgressions… I fear no motion of no confidence nor impeachment,” Mr Zuma said, adding that he had done nothing wrong.
His resignation ends an unprecedented political crisis for the ANC after a weeks-long power struggle with Mr Ramaphosa, deputy president and the party’s leader after defeating Mr Zuma’s preferred successor last year. Earlier yesterday, Zuma, speaking with the South African National Broadcasting Commission (SABC), said he would only step down if the ANC top officials can explain what he had done wrong. “What is it that I’ve done?” he asked. “I indicated to the top six (executives of the ANC) that what they have raised is not the first time. They have raised it in the NEC itself twice and nobody has ever been able to tell me what the issue is. “The NEC themselves said that I must resign‚ and I find that very strange that I should do so because this is not the first time that they’ve said this. “It’s not a new matter. I need to be furnished with what is it that I have done and unfortunately nobody has been able to tell me what is it that I’ve done.
There are processes in the ANC that need to be followed if I have been doing something wrong. “In the discussion‚ I asked‚ ‘what was the problem? Why must I be persuaded to resign? Have I done anything wrong?’ And of course the officials [must] provide what is it that I’ve done‚” he said. “At the discussion in the NEC nobody was able to tell me what I’ve done. There’s no policy in the ANC and there’s nothing that [says] once there is a new president of the ANC‚ there must be changes. I found it in a sense very unfair to me that this issue has been raised all the time.”
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