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February 15, 2018

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will succeed Jacob Zuma as president, after Zuma announced his resignation Wednesday in a nationally televised speech. Ruling party legislators officially elected Ramaphosa on Thursday.

The BBC writes that there is "a renewed sense of hope" as Ramaphosa assumes the leadership role he has had his eye on since 1994.

Zuma was at the center of several scandals during his nine-year tenure, with critics claiming that his friends and family profited handsomely from his presidency. The leadership of Zuma's party, the African National Congress, had called for his resignation on Monday. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2018
Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Update 7:40 a.m. ET: South African President Jacob Zuma's ruling African National Congress party announed Tuesday afternoon in Johannesburg that it has ordered Zuma to step down. "We are giving him time and space to respond," ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule told reporters. "When we recall our deployee, we expect our deployee to do what the organization expects him to do. ... I don't know what will happen. Let's leave it to President Jacob Zuma." If Zuma steps down, party leader Cyril Ramaphosa will becoming acting president; if Parliament removes him and his Cabinet with a vote of no-confidence, the parliamentary speaker becomes acting president. Our original post appears below.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress party has decided to "recall" President Jacob Zuma, or remove him from office, a senior ANC official told Reuters and South African media on Tuesday. The ANC's executive committee reached its decision after 13 hours of tense discussions and a meeting between Zuma and his deputy and presumptive replacement, Cyril Ramaphosa. "Cyril went to speak with him," a senior ANC source told Reuters, and Zuma made clear he wouldn't resign within 48 hours, as demanded. "We decided to recall Zuma," the source said. "He hasn't been told yet."

The ANC will announce its decision at noon (5 a.m. EST), and if Zuma, 75, refuses the party's order that he step aside, he is expected to lose a vote of confidence in Parliament on Feb. 22, an embarrassment for both Zuma and the ANC. South African media is already calling the "Zexit" inevitable, BBC News says, and the only question is when and how Zuma leaves. Zuma's presidency, which began in 2009, has been marred by economic stagnation and widespread allegations of corruption. His fate was more or less sealed when Ramaphosa, a union leader, beat Zuma's ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to become head of the ANC in December. Peter Weber