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New President Cyril Ramaphosa vows to serve the people of SA

Ramaphosa has set the tone for his new role as South Africa’s president.

President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa on Thursday afternoon, 15 February 2018. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Cyril Ramaphosa gave his maiden speech as president in the National Assembly, where he promised to serve the people of South Africa to the best of his ability.

Ramaphosa has set the tone for his new role as South Africa’s president.

He also spoke of the need to grow the economy, to combat corruption and sort out state-owned companies, promising concrete steps in his State of the Nation Address on Friday night.

“I do believe when one is elected in this type of position, you basically become a servant of the people of South Africa. And I will seek to execute that task with humility, with faithfulness and with dignity as well. That is what I will seek to do.”

Responding to opposition party Members of Parliament, Ramaphosa said he would strive for parties to work together to improve the lives of South Africans, agreeing with the Pan Africanist Congress that “it is not yet Uhuru” after the party’s leader urged him to deal with the land question.

Ramaphosa told Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, who told Ramaphosa he would “see him” at the 2019 elections, to "stop grandstanding", saying he would be seeing him regularly at Parliament.

WATCH: Ramaphosa's first address in Parliament as SA president

The first sitting of the National Assembly for the year started with the Economic Freedom Fighters pushing for the dissolution of Parliament and protesting the election of Ramaphosa.

It wasn’t long before the red berets left the house.

“We will not be participating the in the election of the president because it’s an illegal activity. We’ve already instructed our lawyers to try [to] look at the legal implications of what these guys are doing here.”

And then the business of the day started, with Cyril Ramaphosa being elected uncontested.

“It would be wonderful if the level of debate in this house can be raised to a level where we really begin to engage on national issues," Ramaphosa said.

Opposition parties congratulated him but promised to be strict in holding him to account, much like they did with his predecessor.

WATCH: Cyril Ramaphosa elected new president of SA

'PIVOTAL STEP TO REVIVE BUSINESS CONFIDENCE'

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has described the swearing in of President Ramaphosa as a pivotal step towards reviving business confidence.

Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of the republic in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon following an uncontested election.

Busa's Tanya Kohen says while the business community supports Ramaphosa in this new era, he needs capable ministers around him.

“We think that the forthcoming budget is expected to be extremely challenging and underscores the need for a competent and credible and capable administration that the country really needs.”

She says the organisation welcomes his commitment to being accountable to Parliament.

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