Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, resigned on Wednesday in a nationwide address.
Zuma was forced out by his own ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), whose National Executive Committee (NEC) gave him 48 hours to resign on Tuesday. He was expected to face a no-confidence motion in Parliament on Thursday, at which his own party was expected to vote against him for the first time, having protected him in earlier such efforts.
South African news website Independent Online reports:
President Jacob Zuma announced his resignation with immediate effect on Wednesday night.
“Even though I disagree with the decision . I have always been a disciplined member of my organisation,” he said.
Zuma was speaking from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday night.
A defiant Zuma earlier on Wednesday spoke out in an interview with the [South African Broadcasting Corporation], saying he had done nothing wrong and was never told the reasons for his recall.
Zuma said he had made it clear to the party’s national officials that he was not willing to leave the Union Buildings without being told what wrong he had committed. He said he felt victimised.
While proclaiming his innocence, Zuma had long been dogged by allegations of corruption and “state capture” by prominent individuals and interests who used their financial influence over Zuma’s circle to control the government.
Zuma had served as president since 2009, after being elected president of the ANC in 2007. He forced President Thabo Mbeki to step down in 2008 — ironically, since Mbeki had dismissed him from office in 2005 over claims that Zuma had been bribed. Zuma was re-elected in 2014, but faced growing dissatisfaction as South Africans began to view him as deeply corrupt, and blamed him for the poor quality of services by the national government.
Zuma will likely be succeeded by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also deputy president of the country, and who defeated Zuma’s chosen successor at the ANC’s national conference in December on a platform of reform.
The South African rand rose against major world currencies on news of Zuma’s resignation.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.