– Jacob Zuma is facing numerous corruption allegations
– Ramaphosa is a former anti-apartheid activist and ANC stalwart
After months of mounting pressure and several near-misses, Jacob Zuma has finally resigned his position as South African President. He announced the decision in a televised statement where he also intimated that it was not his wish. Zuma had been issued an ultimatum by his party, the ANC, to either step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament.
The 75 year-old, who had been in power since 2009, finally towed the line of bowing out without any more struggle. He had been facing a barrage of corruption allegations which the party could no longer bear.
In his speech, Zuma paid tribute to all those he had worked with in office as president over the years and also explained that his decision was influenced by a desire to avoid violence and further division in the party. He said “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,”
In further comments he also stated “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.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Prseident Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as the new president of South Africa and the ANC’s leader. He was elected unopposed in the National Assembly Thursday afternoon. Amidst the calls for Zuma’s departure, Ramaphosa had been the replacement that many party members had in mind
His nomination was forwarded by Patrick Maesela, who is an ANC backbencher and was seconded by colleague Joan Fubbs. Ramaphosa’s ascension, barely a day after Zuma’s exit, went smoothly as none of the opposition parties nominated a candidate.
The new ANC leader was declared president by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who presided over the election. The 65 year-old, who became Deputy President in 2014, is a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader as well as a businessman. Also the Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Cyril Ramaphosa is said to have been Nelson Mandela’s favourite choice for a successor. He is getting a chance nineteen years later.
Many at home and abroad are hoping that this will be a positive turn for South Africa.