South Africa awoke to the news many of them had been waiting for: Jacob Zuma has officially resigned [VIDEO] as president of the country. The local currency, the rand, was seen to be one of the first to demonstrate its support at the news as within hours it had reached highs not experienced since 2015.

When Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was voted in recently as the new leader of the African National Congress [ANC] party, the rand had already shown signs of strengthening. But with a recent history of surviving 'no confidence' votes in parliament, the most recent of which had been postponed until the evening of Thursday 15 of Feb, people were waiting with bated breath to see if it would actually happen this time.

eNCA reported

Public opinion and response

The South African Communist Party, long-time collaborators with the ANC expressed their joy at the news, saying that this was something that should have happened a very long time ago. News 24 report.

"The levels of parasitic looting of public resources that have occurred under [outgoing] president Zuma’s watch, the firing of ministers who have stood in his way, the erosion of the hard-won rule of law, the perversion of key state institutions notably in the criminal justice system, the manipulation of the public broadcaster, and the auctioning off of our national sovereignty in the pursuit of private accumulation have caused huge damage to our country."

This echoes the sentiment of many of South Africa's population, who had grown weary of incidents of corruption and mismanagement, ineptitude and excuses.

With a failing currency and a recent November downgrade of the country's credit rating to junk status, South Africa has definitely been in need of a leader who can inspire confidence both locally and abroad. For the majority of the people, Jacob Zuma had stopped being that a long time ago.

“For the first time in almost a decade, South Africans can rejoice that the sun has set on the Zuma era. We can finally celebrate that the president, who had become a symbol of the erosion of state integrity, has left office.” “For the first time in almost a decade, South Africans can rejoice that the sun has set on the Zuma era. We can finally celebrate that the president, who had become a symbol of the erosion of state integrity, has left office.” [Neeshan Balton, the executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada foundation]

Is that a Light?

As we approach what seems like a light at the end of the tunnel, there are some who are more cautious in their celebrations. It is important to note that Cyril Ramaphosa, who as new president of the ANC was always destined to be South Africa's next president, has spent many years in support of Zuma and together with the majority of ANC leadership defended him through many of the controversies and corruptions that plagued his presidency since 2009 when he took over from Thabo Mbeki.

Jacob Zuma did not act alone and despite him moving on, it may be good to spend some time reflecting on those who will be stepping into leadership and ask what does this mean and for who.

Cyril Ramaphosa himself has some question marks around his character and integrity which were raised during the 'Miners Shot Down' documentary which tells the story of the Marikana Mining Massacre in which 44 people were killed during a strike action, which placed a lot of the responsibility on his head.

So we will wait and see. But for now, there will be many South Africans celebrating with a view that it couldn't be any worse than it was. Time will tell us just how true that is. In the meantime, hope reigns supreme and the work of rebuilding a nation lies ahead for all of its people.