Durban – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has thanked former president Jacob Zuma for being a courageous leader who helped poor South Africans.
"He took fearless and radical decisions in the best interest of the poor who are African in general and black [people] in particular. [This] has been the hallmark of his presidency," provincial task team (PTT) coordinator Sihle Zikalala said.
Zikalala was addressing a large media contingent at the party's provincial offices following the resignation of Zuma as president on Wednesday night.
He said that while "recalling is never a nice thing" all ANC members respect decisions made by the party.
"We all have to experience these things. But president Zuma made a significant contribution to the history of SA in his 60 years as a member of the party."
Zikalala said Zuma was still an important member of the ANC and would likely continue to campaign for the party.
Zuma 'will mobilise for the ANC'
"Zuma is still a member of the ANC and an important cadre. His recall and resignation does not mean he cannot participate in the organisation.
"He is one of those [who] will mobilise for the ANC."
He added that the province would close ranks and unite behind President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"We will continue to support the leadership under him and ensure that we accelerate the implementation of our 54th conference resolutions without delay and compromise."
Zikalala said it was not surprising that "before the dust even settles" the knives were already out for Ramaphosa.
"We can see through these naked efforts to reverse democracy through political stealth. As we negotiate some of the choppy waters in our political discourse, we will continue to defend the ANC as the tried and tested champion and servant of the poor."
SA 'needs to move on'
Mike Mabuyakhulu, convener of the PTT welcomed the decision to recall Zuma.
"We welcome the decision of the national executive committee (NEC) to recall the former president. We also welcome Zuma's honourable actions to tender resignation in response to the decision."
He said the ANC was a "democratic and peace-loving" party.
"Due process was undertaken by the NEC. It was a collective decision. The country needs to move on. We will always respect Zuma. He has made his contribution and his credentials speak to that."
He said the province was looking forward to Ramaphosa's leadership. In the meantime, the PTT would be deployed to various structures to brief them on the resignation, Mabuyakhulu said.
IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said he was surprised that Zuma resisted complying with his party's instruction.
"I was quite shocked because in 2011 he told me I must step down and that my legacy was being spoiled. His resignation will be a good thing for our country. Yesterday he sounded like he lived on a different planet."
Call for government to fight corruption
Buthelezi said he believed Zuma resisted giving up power because "of the charges against him".
"Our country has gone down because of many actions from him. I do not think he will continue in politics. The new president will have to do a lot of cleaning up. The markets respond positively to him."
The Active Citizens' Movement also welcomed the resignation, hailing it as a victory for democracy and constitutionalism.
"Our work as civil society is far from concluded as we will continue to be ever vigilant and hold government to account, and ensure we never again allow the rot to set in until it becomes too late."
The organisation welcomed Ramaphosa into office and said it supports "his intention to rid the country of corruption and corrupt individuals in government".
"We encourage government to continue to pursue those who have looted our state coffers, wherever they are, and to bring them to justice. We shall be closely monitoring the situation and shall hold the incoming president to his promise."