South African President Jacob Zuma announced his resignation late into the night on Valentines Day, a move that many found both surprising in his choice to finally relinquish power and unsurprising that he ultimately heeded the recall from his party ANC.
In his statement Zuma said that although he does not agree with this decision, he will resign as president of the republic effective immediately.
Reactions from government and citizenry alike have been streaming in ever since. The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is “rejoicing” at the news that Jacob Zuma has resigned as president, while the United Democratic Movement says “good riddance”.
“We rejoice with all South Africans today as the long, painful decade of Zuma’s presidency finally comes to an end,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement, after the announcement.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa tweeted: “At last #Zuma has thrown the towel. “Good riddance. You have cost the country and in the process destroyed the gains of our freedom.”
— Bantu Holomisa (@BantuHolomisa) February 14, 2018
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said the resignation was not a surprise, “The die has been cast. The pressure on him from the different quarters for the first time in history has been tremendous. As far as the IFP is concerned, he has done, maybe not the honourable thing, but the right thing in the interests of the country, the interests of Parliament, and the growth of the economy.” IFP chief Narend Singh told News24.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and party member Floyd Shivambu tweeted:
Thank you fighters, stay focus.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) February 14, 2018
We take this opportunity to pay tribute to fighters who took to the streets and did everything in their power to bring Jacob Zuma down. The EFF doesn’t take useless campaigns that do not succeed! #ZumaHasFallen! pic.twitter.com/PCyMhd1T6G
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) February 15, 2018
South Africans and the rest of the captive audience on social media created ingenious tweets and memes in reaction to the news that coincidentally fell on Valentines day.
— Julian Rademeyer (@julianrademeyer) February 15, 2018
— umXhosa ? (@MhlahloZimkitta) February 14, 2018
— Kathryn McConnachie (@KathMcConnachie) February 14, 2018
— Savage (@savage_RSA) February 14, 2018
— Michelle Andrews (@ChelleNorah) February 14, 2018
Dear Rand, it’s safe! You can come out now! Fly buddy! #ZumaResigns
— electronicZULU (@eZulu) February 14, 2018
— Hloks (@eyesline007) February 14, 2018
By the look of things Zuma’s resignation has been welcomed, with many embracing it as the first step to tackling the rampant corruption the country experienced in his tenure.