After intense pressure from the party leaders, South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday resigned from his office with immediate effect, making the announcement in a televised address to the nation. The 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with his African National Congress (ANC) party’s decision, which had told him to resign or face a vote of no confidence in the Parliament. After facing constant pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader, Zuma agreed on Wednesday night to step down.

In an address to the nation, he said he was resigning even though he did not agree with ANC’s decision. He further said that ANC should not be divided in his name. “No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” he was quoted as saying. “Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC, he added.

The South African President said he will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organisation he has served all his life. Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces several allegations of corruption. The ANC later 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.” A meeting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee had announced its decision and has asked Zuma to resign by the end of Wednesday.

With IANS inputs