After South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) called for his ouster, Jacob Zuma has stepped down as the country’s president.
Zuma, a once revered anti-apartheid activist, has been plagued by rumors of corruption, and calls for his resignation intensified after his party demanded he retire or face a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
After previously refusing to step aside, Zuma addressed the nation Wednesday to tender his resignation.
“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 organisation,” the embattled leader 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.”
While the country waits to see how this shakeup will play out longterm, the ANC’s deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, praised the former president for his decision to resign.
“Having taken the difficult decision to recall Comrade Zuma, the ANC nonetheless salutes the outstanding contribution he has made & express its profound gratitude to him for the role he has played in the African National Congress spanning over sixty years of loyal service,” he said. “Whilst this may mark an end of his term of office as President, we hope and believe Comrade Jacob Zuma will continue to work with the ANC on our program of fundamental organizational renewal and uniting all SAns behind a shared vision of transformation and economic recovery.”
South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, will become the country’s interim leader.