The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomes the decision by Jacob Zuma to resign as President of the Republic of South Africa.
“This evening’s announcement of Zuma’s resignation is one that will be met with a sigh of relief from all South Africans,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton. “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.
“On this occasion, I wish that Ahmed Kathrada could have been with us to know that his letter, written almost two years ago, calling on Zuma to step down, had eventually struck a chord. I think that he would have been saddened that it had taken so long for Zuma to ‘submit to the will of the people’, but also proud of the work done by individuals across all sectors of society, putting pressure on the ANC to take the decision to recall him, leading to his resignation.”
Balton indicated that Zuma’s resignation is due to the cumulative efforts of civil society formations, business, labour, the religious sector, opposition parties, members within the ruling party, journalists, whistle-blowers, honest public servants, the judiciary and ordinary people.
He cautioned though, that while Zuma’s recall is indeed a victory for the people, the fight against state capture is 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. It is 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.
“The ANC leadership now has a duty to ensure that corruption is tackled and that any attempt to exonerate those behind its facilitation is quashed.
“We also want the truth – South Africans deserve to know the full extent of the damage done to the country under the Zuma administration, and we hope that the various commissions and inquiries underway into state capture and state-owned entities can reveal such.
“We furthermore hope that law enforcement agencies are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who have facilitated state capture. There must be serious consequences for the corrupt, to serve as a deterrent to others. There must be justice,” he said.
“The Foundation will continue supporting efforts aimed at dismantling state capture and building a country based on the values of our Constitution. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the vision of Kathrada and his generation is not trampled underfoot by those who only seek to serve their own interests. It is our hope that as this new era dawns in our country, South Africans will remain vigilant in defending our hard-won democracy against state capture.”