South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has resigned after intense pressure from his own party.
In a televised statement he said he was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with his ANC party’s decision. The ANC had told him to step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament.
The 75-year-old has been facing calls to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader.
Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.
Earlier on Wednesday, police swooped on the Johannesburg home of the powerful and wealthy Gupta family with whom Mr Zuma has close ties.
In his speech he paid tribute to those whom he had worked with over the years, Mr Zuma said that violence and division within the ANC had influenced his decision to step down.
“No life should be lost in my name and also 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,” he said.
“Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.
The South African Parliament postponed its annual State of the Nation Address Tuesday amid a growing clamor from within the ruling ANC party to unseat the person who would deliver it: President Jacob Zuma.
The opposition parties had vowed to disrupt or walk out of the address if Zuma, who is mired in corruption allegations, presided over it. Similar protests in the past have turned violent.
The resignation of president Jacob Zuma marks the end of an era. An era of one corruption allegation after another. An era of divisions, infighting and public squabbles. There are many people who are celebrating now, and not just from the opposition benches.
In 2016, South Africa’s top court ruled that Zuma had acted unconstitutionally when he used $15 million in public funds to upgrade his private home, and ordered him to repay some of the money.
He also faces 783 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering relating to a 1990s arms deal that were dropped almost a decade ago.
Zuma denies all the corruption allegations against him.
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