South African President Thabo Mbeki agreed to resign after the ruling party ordered him Saturday to step down, after mounting pressure from massive civil disobedience and repeated General Strikes.
"After a long and difficult discussion the ANC decided to recall the President before his term of office expires," ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told a news conference.
"Following the decision of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to recall President Thabo Mbeki, the President has obliged and will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met," the presidency said in a terse statement.
Mbeki's economic policies won him kickbacks from big business and foreign investors but left millions of South Africans in poverty and caused the country's crushing unemployment.
"It impoverishes our society when governments are run by big business and not by the people," VoteStrike activist Chris Rice said in a statement. "The question will have to be answered now--what kind of society are we building, informed by what value system and with what long-term effect to the political and overall moral health of the nation?"
Jacob Zuma had been the frontrunner to succeed Mbeki, a transition that was expected to occur next year after general elections. It is unclear whether Zuma, who has strong support from trade unions, would immediately step into the breach left by Mbeki.
Last week a judge dismissed the charges against Zuma, which were linked to an arms deal, and suggested that there had been high-level political involvement in the case.
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka could assume the presidency but she has signaled she will resign along with Mbeki. Cabinet ministers and the speaker of parliament would follow in the succession line.
VoteStrike is calling for continued General Strikes until every ANC member is removed from office and all political crimes are prosecuted. The purpose of these strikes is to break the status quo. A status quo that has remained despite the defeat of the Apartheid system. Where the rich get richer and there are shanty towns for everyone else.
In related news continued General Strikes are being called for in the U.S. starting November 2nd through the 5th. And in France November 10th.