Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Jacob Zuma as South Africa's president

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected leader of the ANC in December. Credit: AP

South Africa's ruling party says it will nominate acting president Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected as the country's new leader in a parliamentary vote on Thursday afternoon.

Jacob Zuma resigned as South African president in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday.

By stepping down, he avoided his almost certain ousting after years of corruption scandals.

Mr Zuma's resignation came after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party instructed him to leave office by the end of Wednesday or face the motion of no confidence in parliament.

His departure has ended a leadership crisis in one of Africa's biggest economies and set the stage for ruling party MPs to elect Ramaphosa, previously deputy president, as Mr Zuma's successor.

Mr Ramaphosa was elected leader of the ANC in December. He will be sworn in after the vote in the 400-member parliament and is then expected to address the chamber.

  • Video report by ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine

Mr Zuma, 75, said he was willing to resign but wanted to stay in office for several more months ,adding that he took the decision even though he disagreed with the ruling party's demand that he quit.

"Of course, I must accept that if my party and my compatriots wish that I be removed from office, they must exercise that right and do so in the manner prescribed by the constitution," he said.

The former president was defiant in a television interview earlier on Wednesday, saying he had done nothing wrong.

"I'm being victimised here," Mr Zuma told state broadcaster SABC. He complained that Mr Ramaphosa and other ANC leaders had not given him clear reasons about why he should go.

"I need to be furnished on what I've done," Mr Zuma said in the interview.

Credit: PA

On Wednesday morning, police raided the home of prominent business associates of Mr Zuma who are accused of being at the centre of corruption scandals that have infuriated the country, hurt the ANC's popularity and weakened the economy.

An elite police unit entered the compound of the Gupta family, which has been accused of using its connections to the president to influence cabinet appointments and win state contracts. The Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

Several people were arrested during police operations, South African media reported.

The ANC, which has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994, had wanted Mr Zuma to end his second five-year term early so that it could build up support ahead of 2019 elections.

"We can no longer keep South Africa waiting," said Paul Mashatile, the ANC's treasurer general.

As the Gupta-linked investigation proceeds, Mr Zuma also could face corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago. South Africa's chief prosecutor is expected to make a decision on whether to prosecute Mr Zuma on the old charges, which were reinstated last year after being thrown out in 2009.

In another scandal, South Africa's top court ruled in 2016 that Mr Zuma violated the constitution following an investigation of multimillion-dollar upgrades to his private home using state funds. He paid back some of the money.