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South African President Jacob Zuma steps down
February 24, 2018, 2:42 pm

Em battled South African President Jacob Zuma, under intense pressure from his own r uling African National Congress (ANC) party, tendered his resignation on 14 February. Announcing his resignation in a television address to the nation, the 75-year-old said, " Even though I disagree with the leadership of my organization, 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 organization I have served... all of my life." The axiom, ‘what goes around comes around’ comes to mind.

President Zuma’s resignation speech almost echoed the words of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, who tendered his resignation on 20 September, 2008. Despite having nine more months to his second-term in office, President Mbeki was forced to step down by the ANC following a court ruling of improper interference by the President in the country’s National Prosecuting Authority.

The court had decreed that President Mbeki interfered in the prosecution’s case against his Deputy-President Jacob Zuma, whom the president had earlier sacked over indictments of corruption and fraud. In 2007, Mr. Zuma defeated President Mbeki to become leader of the ANC and was believed to be the main figure behind the ANC National Committee’s move to recall the president. Flash forward to 12 February, 2018 and the National Executive Committee of the ANC has once again asked the country’s leader, this time President Jacob Zuma, to step down. President Zuma’s nine-year presidency had been mired by repeated allegations of corruption and other wrongdoings. He had been resisting increasing pressure to quit since December when his deputy C yril Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ANC.

The president who has over the years survived s everal previous confidence motions against him in parliament, but has now decided against testing h is support on the floor of Parliament anymore. S ome of the corruption and charges of wrong doing leveled against the president since he took office in 2009, and even before, include: In 2016, S outh Africa's highest court ruled that President Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private h ome. Last year the Supreme Court of Appeal r uled that he must face 18 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a 1999 arms deal.

More recently, the President’s links to the wealthy India-born Gupta family, who are alleged to have influenced the government, have caused his popularity to plummet. On 28 December 2007, the National Prosecuting Authority served Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud. On 14 June 2005, President Thabo Mbeki removed Zuma from his post as Deputy President due to allegations of corruption and fraud related to the $5-billion weapons acquisition deal by the South African government in 1999. In December 2005, Zuma was charged with raping a 31-year-old woman at his home in Forest Town, Gauteng. The alleged victim was from a prominent ANC family, the daughter of a deceased comrade of Zuma in the struggle against apartheid.

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