ANC lauds Zuma for stepping aside

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has congratulated Jacob Zuma for resigning as president on Wednesday night.

Zuma stepped aside in a televised speech deep into the night, a few minutes before a deadline imposed on him by the party to do so elapsed.

“This decision by president Zuma is consistent with what he had said earlier today that he has never and will never defy his organization, the African National Congress,” the party said in a statement after the resignation.

“President Zuma remains a disciplined member of ANC. In giving effect to the decision of the ANC National Executive Committee to recall him, President Zuma has reaffirmed his commitment to the principles, practices and character of the movement to which he has dedicated his life,” it added.

The ANC in its statement also thanked Zuma for his contribution over the years that he has been a member.

“Having taken the difficult decision to recall comrade Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress nonetheless wants to salute the outstanding contribution he has made and express its profound gratitude to him for the role he has played in the national congress spanning over 60 years of loyal service,” the statement read.

Zuma in his resignation however noted that he disagreed with the ANC decision to remove him, reaffirming his earlier stand that he had done nothing wrong, and that no one had told him of any wrongdoings.

“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 even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization. I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC,” he said.

Zuma was due to complete his second term in 2019, having taken office in 2009.