Jacob Zuma quits as president of South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Jacob Zuma resigned as President of South Africa on Wednesday, heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power.

In a 30-minute farewell address to the nation, 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him toward an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December, but would accept its orders.

"I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect," Zuma said.

"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.

RELATED: A look at Jacob Zuma

14 PHOTOS
Jacob Zuma
See Gallery
Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys, the office of the Presidency at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
South Africa?s President Jacob Zuma arrives for the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) dances with president of south Africa Jacob Zuma (R) and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma during the Congress' 106th anniversary celebrations, in East London, South Africa, January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko 2pts
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma attends the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South African President Jacob Zuma meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at Dr John Dube residence in Durban, South Africa, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during a tour of the Nasrec Expo Centre where the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma attends the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 16, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma tours the Nasrec Expo Centre where the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma speaks during the Energy Indaba conference in Midrand, South Africa, December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses the parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, November 2, 2017. Picture taken November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
South African President Jacob Zuma listens to a speech during the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen in southeastern China� Fujian Province Sept. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma attends the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria, South Africa, August 19, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma celebrates with his supporters after he survived a no-confidence motion in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2017. Picture taken August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The ruling party had said it would vote him out on Thursday.

"No life should be lost in my name. And also the ANC should not be divided in my name," Zuma said.

The ANC, which replaced Zuma as party leader in December with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ordered him to step down as president on Tuesday. When he failed to resign on Wednesday, it announced that it would back an opposition motion in parliament to force him out.

His resignation ends the career of the former anti-apartheid resistance fighter, 75, who has four wives, a sharp tongue and a decades-long history of entanglement in scandals that polarized Nelson Mandela's "Rainbow Nation".

The rand currency, which has gained ground whenever Zuma has hit political turbulence, soared more than one percent to a 2-1/2 year high of 11.79 against the dollar during the day, as pressure piled on Zuma to resign.

(Additional reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Alex Winning, Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Tanisha Heiberg and James Macharia in Johannesburg and Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Graff)

Read Full Story