South Africa

Newsflash: It’s Official – Cyril Ramaphosa is the new president of South Africa

By Marianne Merten 15 February 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s new president shortly after 17:00 on Thursday 15 February, 2018. The ceremony at the Tuynhuys presidential offices at Parliament in Cape Town came just over two hours after the National Assembly had elected him unopposed. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

Within 24 hours after Jacob Zuma publicly resigned with immediate effect in a late-night address to South Africa late on Valentine’s Day 2018, the country had a new president.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng administered the oath of office to Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also ANC president, some two hours after Mogoeng had conducted the presidential election in terms of Section 86 of the Constitution in the National Assembly.

It was unopposed, despite rumours earlier in the day that opposition parties would nominate one of their own. This did not happen, although the EFF walked out of the House after arguing there could be no presidential elections as the courts have found Parliament derelict in its duties – and that instead, Parliament should be dissolved so that a fresh mandate could be obtained in elections.

The taking of the oath of office by Ramaphosa – a brief less than five minutes-long ceremony that took place before many Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers – marks the end of a bruising and turbulent 11 days in South Africa’s political life.

It was only when the ANC agreed to join a motion of no confidence in Parliament that Zuma acceded to his party’s decision to step down from the president’s office at the Union Building.

Instead of debating a motion of no confidence on Thursday, as Zuma had resigned, the National Assembly elected Ramaphosa as president.

The State of the Nation Address, which was postponed from 8 February to give the ANC space to resolve its political debacle, will be delivered by Ramaphosa on Friday 16 February.

This marks the next step on the presidential road of the new president, who undertook to be a “servant of the people of South Africa” shortly after his election in the National Assembly.

Thank you all for this great opportunity I’ve been given and I will work very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa,” Ramaphosa told MPs. DM

Photo: Cyril Ramaphosa is sworn in as president of South Africa at the Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Thursday evening. Photo: Leila Dougan

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