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September 24, 2008
South African presidency changes hands

Resigning South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Photo: United Nations

Kgalema Motlanthe has been named the interim president of South Africa until the April 2009 elections.

He follows on the heels of Thabo Mbeki, who was forced out of office by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Behind Motlanthe’s succession is ANC President Jacob Zuma, who faced charges of corruption but was acquitted based on a technicality. Zuma has since become the center of attention in South African politics and is first in line to become South Africa’s next president. He has written about the ANC decision to recall Mbeki.

Niki McQueen of “The Democratic Alliance” posts excerpts from a speech by Democratic Alliance Leader Helen Zille, who views Mbeki’s departure as a forced political solution to Zuma’s legal problems.

“Waiting in Transit” writes about the resignations of several cabinet ministers loyal to Mbeki, calling it “the biggest political upset in South African history.”

After Zuma told the public not to worry about the mass resignations, “Doberman” rejected the statement and claims that “the ANC continues to move chairs around on the Titanic.”

Cape Town resident Abigail Abrahams criticizes Zuma, saying she will not vote in the next election, but finds hope in the democratic process.

“Singlesushi” writes that the ANC’s “morally defunct” leadership has inadvertently spawned a groundswell of public attention and activism.

Kgalema Motlanthe will officially replace Thabo Mbeki on Thursday. Ray Hartley speculates in his blog for The Times, South Africa, about potential government paralysis when Motlanthe assumes office.

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