Jacob Zuma has resigned as president of South Africa with immediate effect, state television announced Wednesday night. Mr. Zuma, 75, has led South Africa since 2009.
The president of South of Africa, Jacob Zuma, has resigned after days of challenging the orders from the ruling African National Congress to leave office. The former anti-apartheid activist, and has been South Africa’s president since 2009, was due to leave power next year.
His resignation came a day after he was rejected by his party, the African National Congress, on corruption allegations and his connection to the Gupta family in South Africa.
The party also gave Mr. Zuma until Wednesday night to resign or a vote of no confidence motion would be brought against him on Thursday to remove him from office.
Mr. Zuma is likely to be succeeded by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has already emerged the new leader of the ANC.
Mr. Zuma had earlier refused to stand down during an interview with SABC even after police raided the homes of his associates, the Gupta family, in Johannesburg, the country’s commercial capital.
The Guptas, who have been named in a series of corruption probes, are said to be associates of Mr. Zuma, who has led South Africa since 2009.
Some members of the ANC have long asked Mr. Zuma to step down, and the party itself formally took a position on the matter by removing Mr. Zuma as its leader on Tuesday and asking him to resign within 24 hours.
The party’s Treasurer-General, Paul Mashatile, said on Wednesday that the party is starting “a new era.”
“The conference of ANC has created new hope. Our people want to see change. We want to go with renewal,” Mr. Mashatile said.
Since mr. Zuma has now stepped down, it is unlikely that this cabinet would be forced to go with him. Mr Mashatile had earlier said the cabinet members would be removed if Mr. Zuma failed to resign before no vote confidence.
In a televised address to the nation late on Wednesday, Zuma said he was a disciplined member of the ANC to which he had dedicated his life.
Hours before his resignation, Zuma sounded defiant and aggrieved during a live interview with the state broadcaster SABC.
He indicated strongly that he would not resign, claiming that the party’s effort to pull him from office was “unfair,” and that he was being “victimized,” and insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
“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 organization,” Zuma said.
Around noon, ANC officials announced they would vote for an opposition party’s no-confidence motion in parliament on Thursday.
Late in the afternoon, the president expressed his gratitude to the ANC and South Africans for the privilege of serving them and resigned.
Zuma’s resignation gives Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the leadership of the ANC in December, the ability to be elected by parliament to the highest office.
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