After intense pressure from within his own party, Jacob Zuma resigned his post as President of South Africa.
Jacob Zuma, 75, announced his resignation in a televised address stating that he would quit with immediate effect. “No life should be lost in my name. The ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” said Zuma in his speech.
The resignation came at the end of a tumultuous day in South African politics which began with a dawn raid on the Gupta family who have been at the centre of a longstanding corruption scandal involving Zuma. The raid set the stage for an announcement later that day by ANC officials announced that they would support an opposition party’s no-confidence motion the following day. The announcement of Zuma’s resignation came shortly thereafter.
Zuma noted in his speech that he disagrees with the decision of the ANC leadership and that he has, “always been a disciplined member of the ANC.” The resignation cleared the way for Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president, to be sworn in as president. Ramaphosa won an internal election last December to become the leader of the ANC and is regarded as a head of the reformist wing of the party.
“The momentum built by Ramaphosa seems sufficient to avoid the most pressing concern, the spectre of a downgrade of South Africa’s long term local currency debt rating by the rating agency Moody’s. Such a step would trigger South Africa being excluded from Citi’s World Governance Bond Index. RMB Morgan Stanley projects a potential outflow of $5 billion if this happened,” said Jakkie Cilliers, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Head of African Futures & Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies. Extraordinary Professor in the Centre of Human Rights, University of Pretoria on The Conversation.
Zuma’s nine years in office where marred by scandal and have undermined the popularity and legitimacy of the ANC. In the 2016 South African municipal elections the ANC experienced its worst electoral performance since it was elected to power at the end of apartheid and was defeated by the opposition Democratic Alliance in the capital Pretoria. These losses may indeed have been one of the driving forces behind the final driving force within the ANC that led to the support for a vote of no-confidence. Zuma, himself a former member of the military wing of the ANC, rose through the party’s ranks to become president in 2009 and leaves near the end of his last constitutionally mandated term.