Cape Town — President Jacob Zuma announced his resignation on Wednesday night. The South African Parliament is scheduled to elect Cyril Ramaphosa, his successor as leader of the ruling party, as president of the country on Thursday.*
Zuma announced his resignation in a live television address after the African National Congress's executive decided on Tuesday to "recall" him from his post. If he had not resigned, he would almost inevitably have been voted out of office by Parliament on Thursday.
He said he had served as president on the nomination of the ANC, and he was "forever indebted to the ANC, the liberation movement I served almost all my life."
When he accepted deployment as president, he undertook to subject himself to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. "I respect the prescripts of the constitution and its consequences," he asserted.
"No leader should stay beyond the time determined by the people they serve... No leader should seek an easy way out simply because they could not face life at the end of their term without the perks that come with their political office."
As he ended his address, he appealed for party unity: "No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name," he said.
* This report has been amended to reflect a decision by the Speaker of Parliament to reschedule the vote for the new president, from Friday to Thursday.