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Bowing to ANC party pressure, South African President Jacob Zuma resigns

Phill Magakoe, AFP | South African President Jacob Zuma addresses the nation on February 14 to announce his resignation.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday effective immediately, bowing to pressure from the ruling ANC party as it pushed for a no-confidence vote on his beleaguered leadership.

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Speaking during a 30-minute national televised address, Zuma said that he had "come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect".

Zuma had remained defiant earlier in the day as the African National Congress (ANC) party pushed for a no-confidence vote to force him out, saying the treatment of him had been "unfair".

The party said that President Jacob Zuma's "unreasonable, irrational and reckless" behaviour was a threat to state security and a danger to society.

ANC leaders had said they want parliament to vote on a motion of no confidence against Zuma on Thursday and replace him right away with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa if the president refused to step aside.

Ramaphosa, who was elected as the ANC's new leader in December, has said the government will do more to fight the corruption that has hurt the reputation of the ANC, which has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Ayesha Ismail reports from Cape Town

Zuma's own tenure has been marred by numerous corruption scandals and the party wants him to end his second five-year term early so that it can shore up support ahead of 2019 elections.

Police on Wednesday raided some of the Zuma business associates at the centre of the scandals that have sparked outrage in the country.

An elite police unit stormed the compound of the Gupta family, which is suspected of using its connections to Zuma to influence Cabinet appointments and has been a flashpoint for national anger over corruption at state enterprises.

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The three Gupta brothers are billionaire friends of the president who were accused two years ago in a 350-page report by South Africa's corruption watchdog of using their influence over the government to gain control of state companies and win contracts.

Both the Guptas and Zuma deny that they have acted unlawfully. Police said three unidentified people had been arrested during investigations into "Vrede Farm" and allegations that millions of dollars of public money destined for poor dairy farmers were siphoned off by the Guptas.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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