Feb. 14 (UPI) — South African President Jacob Zuma resigned from office Wednesday following pressure from the African National Congress.
Zuma, 75, announced his resignation in a televised address, saying while he disagrees with the ANC’s decision he has always been a dedicated member.
“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,” he said.
“No life should be lost in my name. The ANC should never been divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.”
The ANC ordered Zuma to leave office by the end of Tuesday — or risk being removed by force.
Zuma, the subject of several “no-confidence” votes in recent years, has resisted pressure to resign and remained president amid repeated corruption allegations. Under South Africa’s national constitution, Zuma could not be forced out of office.
The ANC said if Zuma did not resign by the end of Wednesday, proceedings would begin to legally force him out.
During a television interview Wednesday, Zuma said he asked top officials to clarify his wrongdoing, but said, “Nobody has ever been able to tell me what the issue is.”
“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,” he said. “There are processes in the ANC that need to be followed if I have been doing something wrong.”
Zuma, South Africa’s president since 2009, faces nearly 800 corruption allegations stemming from an arms deal during the 1990s. In 2016, he was ordered by South Africa’s top court to repay part of $15 million in public funds it said he misappropriated to upgrade his private home.
Zuma said he was not defying ANC leadership, but disagreeing with its decision to recall him.
“I have never defied the leadership. I said here I do not agree … because there is no evidence,” Zuma said. “I did not defy. I disagreed with the decision because I feel the decision is not right.”
Zuma was president of the ANC between 2007 and 2017.