Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.
As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?
Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.
Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”
Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.
South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.
It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.