Africa

South African newspapers applaud Zuma exit

Newspaper front pages

South African newspapers have welcomed President Jacob Zuma's long-awaited resignation, with many editorials noting that although he went down fighting his presidency was overwhelmingly marked by failure.

In both his TV appearances on 14 February, a defiant Mr Zuma repeatedly questioned why the governing African National Congress (ANC) had asked him to step down, saying he had done nothing wrong.

Mr Zuma has been succeeded by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who won a bruising election to head the ANC.

Zuma 'oblivious' of his mistakes

In its editorial headlined "The grand Zuma charade ends", privately-owned Business Day website commented on Mr Zuma's defiant attitude during his press appearances.

"The overwhelming sense of Zuma was of a man who lives in a universe of his own creation. He was oblivious to the damage he had done both to the country and to his party. He was oblivious to the messages so many emissaries had conveyed to him in the past two weeks. And, most shocking of all, he appeared genuinely oblivious to the charge that in his time as president he might have done something wrong," the website said.

The Financial Mail criticised the ANC's handling of Mr Zuma throughout his presidency and the drawn-out exit.

"[The ANC] was like a parent, waking up to discover that after years of them turning a blind eye, their spoilt teenager has ravaged the booze cabinet and taken the family BMW on a joyride to a house of ill-repute," the editorial said.

On the Mail&Guardian website, analyst Richard Calland celebrated Mr Zuma's exit and predicted that for Mr Ramaphosa "the honeymoon will be short".

"Now that the Jacob Zuma years are thankfully over, what will the Cyril Ramaphosa era bring?... South Africa's new president will not be short of enemies and critics. So it is just as well that the departure of JZ will provide a useful tailwind to propel Ramaphosa and his new administration into the inevitably choppy waters that lie ahead," he wrote.

'A lost decade'

Image copyright The Star

The Star newspaper's main headline read "Going Going Gone" with a photo of the back of Mr Zuma's head.

The Sunday Times and Daily Maverick summarised Mr Zuma's presidency and exit as "a bad movie" and "long nightmare" respectively.

Writing for the Daily Maverick, Stephen Grootes said Mr Zuma's exit speeches distorted the truth and remarked that his presidency was "a lost decade".

"Whatever, Mr Zuma, you have not served the people of South Africa. You have done nothing for the country you confess to love. You have taken South Africa backwards many years, sometimes deliberately," he said.

The analyst also criticised Mr Zuma for speaking in the Zulu language for part of his speech, terming this "another sign of his divisive nature".

In a witty editorial headlined 'Trainspotter: Hasta la Vista, JZ', Commentator Richard Poplak talked about the various scandals that overshadowed any potentially positive elements of Mr Zuma's presidency.

"South Africans were promised a man of the people, a Marxist populist who would wing the country left after [former President Thabo] Mbeki's warmed-over Thatcherism. Instead, he further entrenched liberalisation, corporatisation, and white monopoly capitalism," he said.

'End of an error'

Prominent cartoonist Zapiro, who made a career out of caricaturing Mr Zuma, published an editorial cartoon in The Daily Maverick with the words "The end of an error" in white paint against a black background. It featured the iconic shower head in reference to Zuma's remark that he took a shower to prevent himself from contracting HIV after having sex with an infected woman.

Sowetan LIVE published an editorial cartoon on 14 February showing Mr Ramaphosa, holding a bouquet of flowers, telling Mr Zuma, who is seated for dinner with a battered person representing the ANC: "Excuse me, I believe you're in my seat".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

More on this story