One President Leaves, Another Enters in South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa set to take over after Jacob Zuma's resignation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2018 4:17 AM CST
South Africa Poised to Get New President
South African President Jacob Zuma leaves after addressing the nation and the press in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa is in charge as acting president until parliament elects a new leader Thursday afternoon following the resignation of Jacob Zuma, the government says. The 400-member parliament, dominated by the ruling African National Congress party, is expected to select Ramaphosa to finish his predecessor's term, which ends with elections in 2019. Zuma resigned in a televised speech late Wednesday after the ANC, which has lost popularity because of corruption scandals during his tenure, instructed him to leave or face a parliamentary motion of no confidence that he would almost certainly lose, the AP reports.

The office of parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete said Thursday that she had received a letter of resignation from Zuma, and that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng would be available to swear in the new president in parliament later in the day. "The newly elected president will then address the sitting thereafter," the ruling party said in a statement. The new president will also deliver the postponed state of the nation address on Friday evening. Zuma had been unable to give the speech because of the leadership crisis. The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed Zuma's departure, but it said the state must act against "networks of criminality" that have hurt South Africa's democracy.

(More South Africa stories.)

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