Johannesburg – South Africa must seize the ‘golden opportunity’ of former President Jacob Zuma’s resignation, to move forward and ‘start afresh’, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba has said.
Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, was on Thursday confirmed as South Africa’s president in a parliamentary vote after the incumbent resigned on Wednesday night following orders from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
Mr Zuma faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said Zuma’s decision to quit showed the power of the people and urged South Africans to ‘direct our energies towards nation-building’.
According to Christian Today, the remarks came as Malusi Mpumlwana, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, vowed the country’s churches will remain the moral compass of society.
Reports show that Makgoba has been one of Zuma’s most outspoken and consistent critics and tweets that South Africans must ‘roll up our sleeves and make South Africa move forward’.
‘May those called upon to take up where he left off not squander the gift of this moment,’ he said in a statement.
‘I hope I will be speaking for many by saying we have a country to build, a new vision to shape, and a future to craft that our children will be happy to inherit. Even in this trying hour, I hope we can mobilise and direct our energies towards nation-building.’
He added: ‘President Zuma’s resignation is an acknowledgement that public power is to be exercised on behalf of and in service to the people of South Africa, rather than for the self-service of the incumbent.’
Despite his long-standing opposition, Makgoba praised Zuma for finally resigning.
‘Hard as it might have been for President Zuma to have arrived at his decision to quit his post, it has nevertheless relieved him from the burden of rejection that had placed his standing on the wrong side of our country’s glorious history,’ he said.
‘He must be thanked for making peace with himself and the country by bowing to the inevitable and affording us much-needed relief.’
Jacob Zuma has been president of South Africa since 2009.
Additional Repoting by Agencies.