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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s resignation on Wednesday night will be met with a sigh of relief by South Africans the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said on Thursday.

Zuma finally stepped down on Wednesday night following pressure from the ANC, who had given him until midnight Wednesday to resign, with a motion a of no confidence scheduled for Thursday.

Neeshan Balton, the foundation’s executive director, said; “Despite it having taken a long time for the voices of ordinary people to be heard, we can finally celebrate that the President, who became a symbol of the erosion of state integrity, has left the office.”   

He said although Zuma’s recall “is indeed a victory for the people”, the fight against state capture was ongoing.

“We’ve removed someone who had presided over a systemic process of state capture that has crept into all tiers of government. Tomorrow, there will still be public officials stealing from state coffers; there will still be individuals who wield undue influence over politicians."

“There will still be groups willing to defend the state capture project and there will still be an economy and society wrecked by poor governance,” Balton said.

He said it was going to take years of hard work from all sectors of society to reverse state capture and build a state based on integrity, accountability and transparency.

Anton van Dalsen, from the Helen Suzman Foundation, said Zuma’s resignation should usher in a new era of progressing from the last number of years which have been fraught with scandals and a serious knock in economic confidence in the country.

“It gives hope for a political system where the rule of law governs the judicial system and that it gives people confidence to invest in the economy,” van Delsen said.

He said the ANC had taken a major step, in the past two weeks, by resolving to recall Zuma.

Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, said Zuma’s exit was inevitable despite him trying to cling onto power by justifying that he had done nothing wrong.

“The reality is that the leadership of the ANC had recalled him and he was going to go one way or the other, fighting, kicking and screaming or resigning.

“It’s quite sad that he still stands there thinking that he’s done nothing wrong and that the leadership was being unfair to remove him. The simply reality is that he has been putting people into cabinet and positions that make no sense and rational explain,” Duvenage said.

He said scandals around the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), Eskom and South African Airways and other state owned institutions arose from people he had appointed and it would not have been fixable had Zuma remained in the presidency.   

“We glad that he’s gone and it was right that he gets removed as quickly as possible because now we have a lot of work to build this nation going forward,” Duvenage added.

The Star