South African President Jacob Zuma after addressing the the nation and press at the government's Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. South African President Jacob Zuma says he has resigned "with immediate effect." The scandal-tainted leader made the announcement late Wednesday in a televised address to the nation. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
JOHANNESBURG - Industry bodies, trade union federations and civil society breathed a collective sigh of relief following Jacob Zuma’s long drawn-out resignation as president of South Africa on Wednesday night.

They welcomed his resignation and characterised him as a “natural disaster” whose “legacy of corruption” was now firmly in the “dustbin of history”.

National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“The resignation of President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma ... was momentous occasion for the country. His decision to step down has come as a relief in a situation that was bordering on social and political paralysis. Furthermore, this development once again indicate the triumph, resilience and depth of our democracy and our Constitution.”

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa

“Under the Zuma administration, the South African economy was terribly stunted and bled thousands of jobs across many sectors, corruption became pervasive and the country suffered multiple sovereign credit ratings downgrades.”

SA Federation of Trade Unions

“His term of office has been a disaster for the country and particularly for the working class and the poor majority. He has presided over the plundering of public resources through outrageous level of corruption, fraud and money-laundering. He has brought state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to the brink of insolvency, and reduced the economy to ‘junk’ status.”

Congress of SA Trade Unions

“This resignation was long overdue. We do laud him for finally doing the right thing and freeing the country from what was a momentous week of political turmoil.  This decision will hopefully allow the country to move away from the relentless partisan fighting, the prolonged political gridlock, and also the damaging corruption scandals.”

Kathrada Foundation

“... Zuma’s resignation is one that will be met with a sigh of relief from all South Africans. For the first time in almost a decade, South Africans can rejoice that the sun has set on the Zuma era. Despite it having taken a long time for the voices of ordinary people to be heard, we can finally celebrate that the President, who had become a symbol of the erosion of state integrity, has left office.”

Centre for Constitutional Rights

“While politically, the governing party could have done more with regard to taking the country into its confidence during the protracted ‘recall process’, one should, at the very least, commend the peaceful handover of office. For most of 2018, South Africa has been in a state of paralysis regarding the President’s future at the helm. With President Zuma’s resignation, the country is well-placed on the path to achieving key constitutional goals, including upholding the Rule of Law.”


“Zuma will be remembered for selling out the people of South Africa in a series of secret and corrupt deals - not only those labelled 'state capture', but also his deals with European corporations as part of the Arms Deal, and his relentless pursuit of a secret Nuclear Deal with Russia.” 

Corruption Watch

“Corruption Watch greets President Jacob Zuma’s resignation with a mixture of joy and relief, anger and resentment. Joy and relief because a critical obstacle in the way of renewing South Africa’s democracy has been removed; anger and resentment at the public resources that have been looted and the key institutions that have been crippled and that must be rebuilt.”

FW de Klerk Foundation

“Millions of South Africans are celebrating the departure of Mr Jacob Zuma, albeit under great duress, with an initial intransigence and a final goodbye just before 23h00 on 14 February. The nation has suffered politically, economically and socially, during his corrupt, strongman and divisive time in office.”

Trade union Solidarity

“Jacob Zuma’s legacy is that of a natural disaster and Zuma has caused South Africa almost irreparable damage. In the eyes of the international world South Africa fell from being the world’s darling to a polecat state as a result of Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy. Under his leadership the South African government smuggled Omar al-Bashir out of the country instead of arresting him.”

In describing Zuma’s prolonged departure from the Union Buildings, EFF leader Julius Malema said Zuma’s “legacy of corruption” was now in the “dustbin of history.”