South African President Thabo Mbeki has agreed to step down after his own party demanded his resignation.
The ANC’s decision to remove Mbeki follows years of infighting sparked by his sacking of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma amid corruption allegations.
Last week, a judge dismissed the charges against Zuma who is now the ANC’s leader.
Despite attempts by loyalists to save Mbeki’s presidency, Zuma’s suporters on the National Executive Committee held sway.
Mbeki announced he would accept his fate and relinquish his position once all constitutional requirements had been met.
Political analysts fear it will not be that easy.
Professor Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg said: “This is a political crisis. The ANC will pay some of the consequences of this at the polls.
“How big we just don’t know, and clearly this is something they’re going to have to manage in the months to come.”
On the streets, the decision certainly wasn’t greeted with celebration.
“It’s unfair for him to step down,” said Johannesburg resident Dudu Ndimande.
“They must wait until his term is finished. Then he can finish nicely and step down.”
Another man, Kagiso Palesa, said: “It’s unethical to remove a guy a year before the elections. The elections are only next year.”
The move comes at a time of one of Mbeki’s greatest triumphs. Last week he mediated a power- sharing deal in neighbouring Zimbabwe that could end years of political and economic crisis.