South African President Jacob Zuma announced his immediate resignation today after the ruling ANC party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence. Scandal-tainted Zuma said in a 30-minute national television address that he had “come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect”. “I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability. I am forever grateful that they trusted me with the highest office in the land,” he said.
Zuma, whose reputation has been stained by years-long allegations of graft, had been instructed to step down by the African National Congress (ANC) party. He complained about the process, saying: “I don’t fear exiting political office however I have only asked my party to articulate my transgressions and the reason for its instructions that I vacate office.” Zuma has been at loggerheads with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, his expected successor as president and the new head of the ANC. Parliament could elect Ramaphosa as president as early as Thursday or Friday.
After his resignation announcement, Zuma said he disagreed with the decision of his political party and that he has 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 in,” Zuma said. Zuma, 75, survived multiple attempts by opposition parties to oust him during his more than eight years in power, earning him the nickname of the “Teflon president.”