South Africa's Jacob Zuma steps down

The South African President resigned after days of defying orders from the African National Congress

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has resigned after days of defying orders from the ruling African National Congress to leave office.

In a televised address to the nation late on Wednesday, the 75-year-old said he was a disciplined member of the ANC, to which he had dedicated his life.

He said he was quitting with immediate effect but he disagreed with ANC party’s decision.

“I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment … I will continue to serve the people of South Africa and the ANC. I will dedicate my life to continuing to work for the execution of the policies of our organisation,” Zuma said.

“No life should be lost in my name. The ANC should never been divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.”

At noon, ANC officials announced they would vote for an opposition party’s no-confidence motion in parliament on Thursday.

Late in the afternoon, Zuma gave an angry and rambling TV interview to justify his refusal to obey his own party’s order to step down.

He later expressed his gratitude to the ANC and South Africans for the privilege of serving them at the “pinnacle” of public life, before saying thank you and goodbye in three local languages.

Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.

Last October, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled he must face 18 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

The ANC (African National Congress) issued a statement saying Zuma's resignation provided "certainty to the people of South Africa".

Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told reporters: "President Zuma remains a principled member of the ANC. The ANC wants to salute the outstanding contribution he has made."

Now Ramaphosa  is likely to step in as deputy president, as well as ANC leader.