Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as President of RSA
Earlier on Thursday, he was elected unopposed as the fifth democratic President of South Africa following Jacob Zuma's resignation Wednesday night.
CAPE TOWN - Newly-elected Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa on Thursday afternoon.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the election in Parliament.
The president took the oath of office at Tuynhuys.
“I devote myself to the well-being of the republic and all of its people, so help me God.”
Earlier, he was elected unopposed as the fifth democratic President of South Africa following Jacob Zuma's resignation Wednesday night.
Ramaphosa, in brief remarks to Parliament ahead of his first State of the Nation Address expected on Friday, said he would work hard “not to disappoint the people of South Africa”.
“The issues that you have raised, issues that have to do with corruption, issues of how we can straighten out our state-owned enterprises and how we deal with state capture (influence-peddling) are issues that are on our radar screen,” he said.
The rand, which has gained ground whenever Zuma ran into political turbulence, soared to a near three-year high against the dollar on word of his resignation.
South Africa’s main stock market index jumped nearly 4% and headed for its biggest one-day gain in more than two years as investors hailed Zuma’s exit after nine years in office rife with allegations of sleaze and mismanagement.
Ratings agency Moody’s said it was closely monitoring developments in South Africa, focusing on the policy implications of Zuma’s political demise.
The S&P Global agency said South Africa’s sovereign credit ratings and outlook will not be immediately affected by the change of the country’s leadership.
Ramaphosa, who will be president until elections next year, faces an uphill battle to earn back public and investor support.
But his stated commitment to boosting growth and stamping out graft has gone down well with foreign investors and ANC members who felt Zuma’s handling of the economy could seriously damage the party in the 2019 election.
South Africa needs faster economic growth if it is to reduce high unemployment - currently at 27% - and alleviate persistent, widespread poverty that aggravates inequality and stokes instability.
The economy, Africa’s most advanced, remains largely under the control of whites who held power under apartheid.
The 75-year-old Zuma said in a 30-minute farewell address to the nation he disagreed with the way the ANC had thrust him toward an early exit after Ramaphosa replaced him as party president, but would accept its orders.
“Zuma did the right thing to resign. Yes, let’s see what Ramaphosa is having for us, thank you,” said Hlengiwe Mswazi, an office worker in the capital Pretoria.
Tshepo Kgobane, also in Pretoria, said: “So it is a good thing that he resigned. We must have a party, a big party, we must throw a party because he resigned. We wanted to see that.”
Zuma bowed out hours after police raided the luxury home of the Gupta family, the Indian-born billionaire allies of the former president who have been at the center of corruption accusations against Zuma and his circle for years.
Zuma and the Guptas have always denied wrongdoing.
#Ramaphosa is taking the oath at Tuynhuys led by the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. LD— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 15, 2018
'GOING, GOING, GONE'
“Defiant in defeat” and “Going, Going, Gone” were among the newspaper headlines that captured Zuma’s unwillingness to leave.
“South Africa’s long nightmare is over,” read the headline from online political news website Daily Maverick.
Julius Malema, leader of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led his party in a mass walkout from Parliament on Thursday, saying it would not take part in the election of a new president so as not to legitimise an ANC candidate.
The EFF, which has 6% of the seats in Parliament, had sponsored a no-confidence motion in Zuma that would have gone ahead on Thursday had Zuma not jumped.
The foundation set up to guard the legacy of the late anti-apartheid icon and first black South African president Nelson Mandela said Zuma’s departure brought to an end “a painful era for the country”.
Additional reporting by Reuters.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)