Cyril Ramaphosa has become South Africa’s President hours after the late-night resignation of Jacob Zuma which ended a week-long power struggle in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Cyril was the only candidate nominated in parliament on Thursday so no vote was needed to make him President and he pledged not to disappoint South Africans as he was voted in.
“I will try very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa,” Mr Ramaphosa said in a brief speech after parliament elected him.
He has said his priority is reviving South Africa’s battered economy, a task which won’t be easy as unemployment is currently at almost 30%, a rate which rises to nearly 40% for young people while low growth rates and dwindling investor confidence saw two credit agencies downgrading the economy to junk status.
However, there is a renewed sense of hope as Ramaphosa takes over as the South African currency, the rand, reached its strongest levels in three years – at 11.6570 rand for $1 in early trading.
In a statement, the ANC said Mr Ramaphosa’s tasks would require “amongst others, restoring the credibility of public institutions, state-owned enterprises and law enforcement agencies”, a reference to criticism that under Mr Zuma’s watch important agencies were mismanaged and had their independence compromised.
Zuma’s second term as President came to a sudden end on Wednesday night as he resigned, with immediate effect during a televised address, after he had resisted weeks of intense pressure from the ANC to stand aside for Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa is due on Friday to deliver a state of the nation address that was delayed last week amid the ANC’s infighting, before presiding over a crucial budget next week.
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