The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), as welcomed the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, saying it was "long overdue."
Zuma resigned after being recalled by his party's leaders, the Africa National Congress (ANC) on February 13.
Faced with the prospect of a vote of no confidence of the National Assembly, which was to be held on 15 February, on the 14th, Zuma announced his resignation.
His presidency has been marred by corruption scandals that have fuelled public anger in Africa's most developed country.
"The fact that Zuma has been allowed to hold on to the most important position in the land, despite longstanding the overwhelming evidence of his unfitness for office, has done immense harm to our country's international reputation, to its economy, and especially to its poorest and most vulnerable citizens", the Bishops said.
Zuma is accused of personal corruption and a licentious life to the point that "it is perceived by everyone that the Zuma presidency has degraded standards of morality and honour of public life, and has fostered corruption and dereliction of duty at all levels of government".
On 15 February, the National Assembly elected Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the ANC.
The Bishops hope that the leaders of the ANC will make a clear change compared to the past and launch an appeal regarding the leadership of the party to "commit itself to a thorough reassessment of its internal standards and mechanisms of accountability."
An analysis by the Parliamentary Office of the SACBC emphasizes Zuma was put in power by a consortium of disaffected constituencies within the ANC precisely because they wanted a "weak, malleable, pliant leader to replace the supposedly aloof and authoritarian Thabo Mbeki". "The coalition of Cosatu, the Communist Party and the ANC Youth League, abetted by various journalists and spin-doctors, knew exactly who they were promoting. Mr Zuma's already notorious record of corruption, dishonesty, cronyism, philandery and self-advancement did not bother them at all as they foisted him on us, and thereby set in motion the disastrous decade that has sullied our reputation and set us back economically, institutionally and politically. Not all those responsible for creating the 'Zumanami' have yet apologised to the nation."
However, it must be said, underlines the analysis, that Zuma resigned saying that "no life should be lost in my name" - a fact that is a credit to South African democracy - compared to other situations such as those of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda or Venezuela.
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