In an address to the nation late on Wednesday evening, President Jacob Zuma announced his resignation.
“I have therefore come to the decision to resign as the president of the Republic with immediate effect,” he said.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa now assumes the country’s presidency.
Zuma’s address comes after the the ANC moved to remove him from office by a vote of no confidence in parliament on Thursday should he did not accede to the party’s edict for him to resign by the end of the day.
Zuma’s resignation marks the end of a tense standoff between him and the party’s newly elected leadership.
As the impasse between Zuma and the party deepened over the last week, some allies of Zuma turned on him, publicly calling on him to step down.
“We believe that the president will do what is right and accede to the decision of the NEC,” ANC Youth League leader and staunch Zuma backer Collen Maine told the SABC shortly before the president was to address the nation.
Earlier on Wednesday, Zuma speaking during an interview on SABC, insisted he had done nothing to merit the party’s decision to recall him from office, claiming as well that he was being unfairly targeted.
His demeanour appears however to have improved through the day.