PRETORIA, South Africa, Embattled South African President Jacob Zuma apologized in a televised national address for a corruption scandal that has left many calling for his resignation.
Zuma appeared contrite in the address, which was broadcast nationwide on Friday night, the day after a South African court ruled he had violated the the South African Constitution by failing to make repayments in the Nkandla scandal.
Zuma pledged to abide by a court ruling saying he must repay the government for some of the cost of upgrades to his rural South African home in Nkandla, where taxpayers footed the bill for a new swimming pool and amphitheater in 2014.
“With hindsight, there were many matters that could have been handled differently,” Zuma said in the address. “The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion, for which I apologize.”
Zuma’s political opposition has called for him to resign and speculation was rife across the country he would do just that during Friday’s speech. Instead, he offered the mea culpa and said he never intended to break the law.
The apology has not lessened calls for his resignation. Anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada, who was jailed alongside former South African President Nelson Mandela, released a letter Saturday, calling on Zuma to leave office.
“Dear comrade president, don’t you think your continued stay as president will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?” Kathrada, said. “In the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?”