In a televised speech on 14 February 2018 Jacob Zuma resigned from his position as President of the Republic of South Africa. This comes after days of pressure from his party for him to resign from the African National Congress (ANC) as a result of growing concerns over his track record of corruption and the ‘State Capture’ controversy orchestrated with the super rich Guptas family.
In his speech, Zuma stated that “Even though I disagree with the decision of the Leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.” Zuma seemed not to understand why his party asked him to resign and in such a speedy manner. He therefore raised his astonishment at the discrepancy between the short notice by the ANC for him to resign and the originally agreed terms of such an exit that included, to his understanding, that he would have more time to transfer power.
He expressed this when he said “It is indeed true that there was an agreement, that even if the need arises that I should vacate the office before the end of term, there is a need to have a period of transition, during which I would delegate some of the functions to the Deputy President of the Republic.”
Zuma went further to request clarification with regard to what had motivated the ANC’s decision for him to exit office. He expressed this when he said “I do not fear exiting political office. However, I have only asked my party to articulate my transgressions and the reason for its immediate instruction that I vacate office.”
Despite showing surprise at his recall and order to step down, Jacob Zuma seemed to understand that there were some forces within the white capitalist class that had engineered his exit from office. True to his nature he would not leave the scene without having the last word. Zuma said “I respect each member and leader of this glorious movement (the ANC). I respect its gallant fight against centuries of white minority brutality, whose relics remain today and continue to be entrenched in all manner of sophisticated ways, in order to ensure the continued survival of white privilege.”
Zuma’s did show some political maturity in his speech. He recognised the supremacy of the people of South Africa whose interest all holders of public office must defend. Zuma submitted himself to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, and showed magnanimity and positive attitude when he stated that “I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment, for they are the lawful mechanisms for the people of this beautiful country to remove their President. I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my abilities.”
He equally showed modesty when he pointed out clearly that he had no interest in “perks and benefits” related to his position as President of the Republic. Nonetheless, his track record in office make all of these statements seem more like a mea culpa if not outright irony.
With Zuma out of office, the Constitutional provisions for his replacement were immediately ignited in order to avoid any vacancy at the helm of State. Parliament sat today 15 February 2018 to elect a new President. Only the ANC presented a candidate, Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of the now former President Jacob Zuma, and President of the ANC since 18 December 2017. His election in Parliament was unanimous and he was immediately sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. He is expected to make his first State of the Nation address on 16 Friday 2018. In the meantime, President Cyril Ramaphosa has sworn to serve the interests of the people of South Africa. However, this is what all freshly elected Presidents say. South Africa looks on, especially the uneasy black population.