President Zuma, 75, has been under immense pressure to give up power to deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new President. The embattled leader who has been in power since 2009 has been dogged in several corruption allegations.
President Zuma’s mood was positive when he began his speech. He joked and laughed with journalists, asking why they were so serious. He had paid tribute to the people he had worked with.
“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, explaining that he resigned to avoid violence and division within the ANC.
“Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC. As I leave I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organisation I have served all of my life.”
The ANC deputy Secretary General applauded Zuma for resigning which was consistent with the organisation’s culture.
“This decision by President Zuma is consistent with what he had said earlier today that he has never and will never defy his organisation, the African National Congress,” Jessie Duarte told the press.
“While we acknowledge errors and mistakes that were committed, President Zuma leaves a legacy of delivery in many critical areas.”
“While we accept the resignation of President Zuma, we reiterate that our decision to impose a recall was taken only after exhaustive discussions on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government,” the ANC acknowledged, adding the resignation would bring about stability in the rainbow nation.
“The ANC now expects all our deployed members of Parliament to cast their vote for the ANC president, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, as the candidate the ANC will nominate for President, when Parliament convenes to elect a president of the republic.”