POLITICS
14/02/2018 23:12 SAST | Updated 14/02/2018 23:19 SAST

Zuma Has Given His Final Speech As President Of South Africa

The statesman announced his resignation with immediate effect on Wednesday night.

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys, the office of the presidency at Parliament, on February 6, 2018.

President Jacob Zuma has announced his resignation with immediate effect.

He said he has done so, even though he does not agree with the ANC's decision to recall him.

Zuma was jovial upon his entry and joked with journalists, asking why they were so serious.

He said his address comes after a week of speculation about his future as president.

"It is now public knowledge that the NEC resolved to recall me as the president of the republic. I have also learned that, before I respond to the initial decision, a new decision has been made by the ANC whose effect is that I have now been compelled to resign by way of a motion of no confidence set down for tomorrow," he said.

"The ANC is indeed the party on whose nomination I became a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of South Africa after its victory [in] the national elections of 2014. It was on the ANC's nomination that I was later elected by the majority of the National Assembly as president of the republic."

Zuma admitted that he is forever indebted to the ANC.

"It has indeed been a great learning experience, a mammoth task, the performance of which can never be done without difficulty and learning on the way. None of us, no matter how perfect, can claim that the building of a new society and the marshalling of a former liberation movement into a modern political party all happen on a straight line," he said.

"All my life I have served and will continue to serve the ANC in its pursuit of the objectives of the national democratic revolution. I understand fully that while I serve at the pleasure of my party, the ANC, the door through which I officially came to serve the people of South Africa is the National Assembly, without which no political party can impose its candidate on the electorate, no matter how popular."

He said politicians tend to place a political party above the law.

"This constitutional line between party and state is often forgotten in the usual business of party political contestations. As we fight our battles in the corridors of political power – sometimes serving the very interests of the oppressors of yesterday who joyfully celebrate as we lynch one another – we often forget the citizens on whose behalf we create a better life. We tend to place the political party above the supreme law of the country," he said.

"I do not make this reference because I am above reproach, nor do I wish to proclaim that in understanding my political responsibilities, I have been the epitome of perfection. If truth be told, none of us [is]."

He said he respected the prescripts of the constitution.

"However, I respect the prescripts of the constitution and its consequences, how we enter, stay in and exit political office and government," he said.

"There has been much speculation about how the president of the republic should exit his or her office. Whether we lose our perks – political office benefits – should not determine how we act in the time of our departure; nor did I agree to serve because there are no better cadres in the ANC and in the country." Zuma said he did not agree to serve in order to exit with perks and benefits of the office of the president.

"It is my party that placed me before the representatives of the people in the National Assembly. No leader should stay beyond the time determined by the people they serve. Most importantly, no leader should seek an easy way out simply because they could not face life at the end of their term," he said.

"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. I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment, for they are the lawful mechanisms for the people of this beautiful country to remove their president."