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South African President Resigns

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South African President Resigns

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After months of denying there was conflict within the African National Congress (ANC), the resignation of South African President Thabo Mbeki reveals a rift far greater than initially thought.

President Mbeki has been accused of interfering with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the corruption case against Jacob Zuma, president of the ANC. After numerous appeals, KwaZulu Natal Judge Chris Nicholson upheld Mr. Zuma’s complaints and ruled in his favor. He said there were strong grounds to believe that Mr. Mbeki had influenced the NPA, whose investigation led to Mr. Zuma’s dismissal from the ANC's cabinet.

The NPA has been trying to bring Mr. Zuma to trial for his involvement in the multibillion-dollar arms deal in which he allegedly received millions of dollars in bribes. Mr. Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, is already serving a 15-year jail sentence for his involvement in the arms deal scandal. Mr. Zuma, however, avoided prosecution by shielding himself with the ANC youth league and South African Communist Party (SACP), which have protested with national strikes and threats of mass violence.

Mr. Mbeki’s resignation has also led to the resignation of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and 11 cabinet members also serving in Mbeki's administration. The current developments usher in a new era in South Africa’s history.

Chosen as the ANC president at the 52nd National Conference held earlier this year, Mr. Zuma is favored by the masses to be the next president of South Africa.

However, he cannot be elected because he is not a member of parliament. In the interim, it is expected that Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy president of the ANC, will assume the office until elections take place next year. He is a former trade unionist and has been serving in parliament as minister without portfolio in the cabinet.

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