Why did the president of South Africa resign?

Jacob Zuma faces more than 800 charges of corruption, but none have been brought before a judge

Why did the president of South Africa resign?

South African President Jacob Zuma resigned following pressure from his party, the African National Congress (ANC). Despite expressing his disagreement with the resignation, Zuma was pressured by the CAN, which had previously formally asked the president to abandon his mandate.

During a thirteen-hour meeting held in the country’s capital, Pretoria, vice president and ANC leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, sought to negotiate a solution, but Zuma did not seem willing to leave power. The president asked for him to be allowed to hold office for three to six more months before officially resigning, but the ANC refused.

Ramaphosa could assume the presidency of this country, which in a fiscal crisis because 51% of its gross domestic product is already owed to others. In fact, debt increased by 20% since 2009 when Zuma started leading the nation.


Once apartheid was over, the ANC was legalized. Its leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma, could hold public office and stand for election. The ANC won in 1994 and Mandela was president. The party has been in power ever since.

One of the 800 accusations against the president dealt with embezzling public funds to remodel his house in Nkandla; in 2014, about 23 million were allocated for this purpose.

Another major scandal was in 2005 after a sentence of 15 years in prison was handed down to Schabir Shaik for corruption. Shaik was Zuma financial assistant from 1900 when the latter was appointed president of the CNA.

Zuma received US $ 154,000 from Shaik to write off debts of the former, while accepting bribes from the French arms company Thomson-CSF. For this reason, the then South African President Thabo Mbeki, ousted Zuma from his cabinet. Although the 783 charges against this were removed, in 2017 the South African Supreme Court reinstated them.

Perhaps the most famous case was the one pertaining to Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, who during apartheid was raped by said politician. "Khwezi" shared the same prison, for 10 years on Robben Island, with Zuma.

During the trial in 2005, the current president argued that the relationship was consensual and acknowledged that the defendant was aware that Khwezi was HIV positive; after intercourse, he took a shower to reduce the chances of becoming infected.


Latin American Post | Ivan Hernandez Parada

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto


We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…