Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected president of the Republic of South Africa. Ramaphosa’s election comes a day after Jacob Zuma tendered his resignation. None of the opposition parties nominated a presidential candidate. Ramaphosa was congratulated by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng who presided over the election. Ramaphosa will deliver the state of the nation address scheduled to take place on Friday at 7pm. Zuma’s resignation created a vacancy in the office of the president. According to the Constitution, the deputy president therefore becomes the acting president until the National Assembly elects a new president of the republic.
Therefore, Ramaphosa remained deputy president and acting president of the country until he was elected as president of the country which took place in Parliament yesterday afternoon. At the same time, the ANC has refused to give reasons for its decision to recall Zuma, saying the matter is closed and further engagements with Zuma will happen outside of the media space.
Following Ramaphosa’s election on Thursday, Independent Political Analyst, Professor Sethulekgo Matebesi, who is based at the University of the Free State said the new president has a clear road ahead of his term. He said Ramaphosa has already built confidence with investors and this could be in the country’s favour.
Ramaphosa is the fifth president of the country and is married to Tshepo Motsepe-Ramaphosa, a medical doctor and a mother of four. The first citizen of the country seems to have gained himself favour even from ordinary citizens. Daliwonga Nqabathi who resides in Freedom Square in Bloemfontein said the new president is one of those that the ANC has produced over years.
“Now these are some of what our movement has produced over the years and by the looks of things, he has what it takes to take the country forward from where former presidents Jacob Zuma left off,” said Nqabathi. Various political parties were given the opportunity to address the house after Ramaphosa was elected as president of the Republic. Most of the opposition parties were congratulatory to Ramaphosa, including the DA. Although DA leader Mmusi Maimane seemed to have irked the new president just a bit when he said he will meet him on the ballot paper in 2019.
When Ramaphosa was given the opportunity to address the house for the first time as president he didn’t fall short of imposing his authority after informing the DA leader to, "leave 2019 aside we have the entire of 2018 to work on and we will be meeting here. Leave grandstanding alone." Ramaphosa told Maimane. Within minutes of the result of a parliamentary vote being announced in the Mother City,
Ramaphosa said he would move to tackle corruption in South Africa. “Issues to do with corruption, issues of how we can straighten out our state-owned enterprises and how we deal with ‘state capture’ are issues that are on our radar screen,” he said, in a reference to improper influence over government institutions, ministers and state-owned businesses.
Ramaphosa, 65, is 10 years younger than Zuma. In the 1980s, the lawyer-turned-labour leader played a key role in mobilising mine workers against the racist apartheid regime. Though he left politics to become a wealthy businessman, Ramaphosa has long been tipped for high office.