South African President Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday, bringing to a close a nine-year tenure that has been dogged by corruption scandals and seen a steady decline in the popularity of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela’s historic liberation movement.
“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.”
He added: “As I leave, I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC.”
His resignation came after a week of intense pressure, culminating in leaders of the ruling ANC ordering him to step down on Tuesday. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Zuma as ANC leader in December, is expected to become acting president, according to South African law.
The announcement came despite his initial refusal to resign, even in the face of a no-confidence vote supported by his own party.
Zuma is a veteran of the fight against apartheid and was imprisoned on Robben Island at the same time as Mandela