Scandal-ridden nine years ends for ‘broke’ SA as Zuma bows out
President Jacob Zuma finally caved in to pressure to quit last night, bringing an end to his scandal-plagued nine years in power.
His resignation came on the same day that he ranted for an hour to the SABC about the ill-treatment he had received at the hands of the party he had served since his teenage years, saying he had done nothing wrong and had not been furnished with the reasons for his recall by the ANC.
The ANC said after Zuma’s address to the nation last night that his resignation gave certainty to the people of South Africa.
In his televised 30-minute farewell address, 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him towards an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December.
“I 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 organisation.”
Zuma emphasised that no leader should seek an easy way out simply because they could not face life at the end of their term without the perks that come with their political office. “
I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment,” he said. “They are the lawful mechanisms for the people of this beautiful country to remove their president.
“I’ve served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability. “I am forever grateful that they trusted me with their highest office in the land, but when I accepted the deployment I understood and undertook to subject myself to the supreme law of the land, the constitution.”
The announcement came despite his initial refusal to resign, even in the face of a no-confidence vote supported by his own party.
Yesterday morning, the ANC parliamentary caucus met and agreed to support the EFF’s motion for a vote of no confidence after Zuma refused to resign – despite being recalled by the ANC’s national executive committee on Tuesday.
Shortly after the ANC caucus meeting, a defiant Zuma gave a live television interview to the SABC, where he defended himself and rejected the attempt by the ANC’s top leadership to remove him from his position.
Zuma said he disagreed with the notion that he had to be removed purely because the ANC had a new president. However, last night, he seemed to accept his fate.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party welcomed Zuma’s overdue resignation.
“We rejoice with all South Africans today as the long, painful decade of Zuma’s presidency finally comes to an end,” he said.
“Jacob Zuma did untold harm to our country.
“More people are unemployed than ever before, and more people live in poverty than when he came into office.
“On his watch, corruption has been allowed to flourish to the point of nearly destroying our country and completely capturing the state and the prosecution system.
“That will forever be his shameful legacy. Even in his resignation speech tonight, he refused to take any responsibility for his actions, and for the harm he caused the country.
“Such shameless disdain requires a level of pathology that reveals Jacob Zuma’s true nature.
“He must now face the 783 criminal charges still awaiting him before the courts. There can be no amnesty or immunity for Jacob Zuma.
“After getting rid of Zuma, the ANC must show serious intent to rid itself of other corrupt individuals, like DD Mabuza, Ace Magashule, Pule Mabe and many others.”
Zuma’s resignation coincided with the arrest of several people linked to the Hawks’ state-capture investigation earlier in the day.
Analysts caution that Zuma’s legacy will take time to fade.
“Zuma’s departure is nothing more than an opportunity for change,” political analyst Ralph Mathekga said.
“Government coffers have been ransacked and our state-owned enterprises are on their knees. South Africa is broke.”
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