Jacob Zuma has resigned as South African president after intense pressure from his own party, the African National Congress.
Zuma made the announcement in a televised statement Wednesday where he said he was quitting with immediate effect but added that he disagreed with his ANC party’s decision.
After months of uncertainty, the ANC had told Zuma to step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament.
The 75-year-old has been facing calls to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who assumed leadership of the ANC from him last year.
Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption and complaints of mismanagement of the economy.
His resignation also comes after police swooped on the Johannesburg home of the powerful and wealthy Gupta family with whom Mr Zuma has close ties.
After paying tribute to those whom he had worked with over the years, Mr Zuma said that violence and division within the ANC had influenced his decision to step down.
“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” he said.
“Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, 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 organisation I have served… all of my life.”
Meanwhile, the governing African National Congress said it would elect Zuma successor’s on Thursday (today).
“We will possibly elect a new president on Thursday … if not Friday,” ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile told journalists.
“We want certainty. We would like the incoming president to hold the postponed State of the Nation address without delay.”