[JURIST] Thabo Mbeki [official profile] announced Saturday that he would resign as president of South Africa in the wake of allegations that he had interfered in a corruption case against political rival and current African National Congress [party website] leader Jacob Zuma [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month Judge Chris Nicholson effectively dismissed [JURIST report] the latest case against Zuma on the grounds that Zuma had been deprived of the chance to respond to claims made against him and that "political meddling" in the case by Mbeki and others could not be excluded. Zuma had said that the charges were part of a politically motivated effort by Mbeki to upset his plans to run in the 2009 presidential election and that Zuma had both a constitutional and statutory right to state his case before charges were brought. Following a direct call for his resignation by top ANC officials Friday, Mbeki issued a statement [text] saying he "will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met". Observers expect this to be in the next few days following meetings Mbeki has already scheduled at the UN in New York in conjunction with the latest session of the General Assembly.
Zuma has been facing corruption allegations [BBC timeline] and other charges for several years. He was first charged with corruption in 2005, but those charges were later dismissed [JURIST report] because prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures.