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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cyril Ramaphosa inaugurated as South Africa’s president for second term

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South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in for a second full term in office as president, despite failing to security a majority in parliament in last month’s election for his African National Congress (ANC).

Lawmakers re-elected him as president last week following a deal between the ANC, its long-time rival Democratic Alliance (DA) and other parties to form a coalition government.

The ANC, which has governed since the end of apartheid in 1994, lost its majority for the first time after the 29 May election produced no outright winner.

Many dignitaries, including several African heads of states, are attending the ceremony.

“I swear I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa… I will obey, observe and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the republic,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

After Mr Ramaphosa took the oath, a band played the national anthem followed by a 21-gun salute and a fly-past by army helicopters, before he made his inaugural address.

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party formed six months ago by former President Jacob Zuma says its officials will not participate in the “farcical” inauguration.

The party, which won 15% of votes and obtained 58 parliamentary seats, also boycotted parliament’s first sitting last Friday.

Mr Ramaphosa has kept the presidency even though the ANC vote fell by 17 percentage points and it lost 70 seats in parliament.

He did this through a power-sharing arrangement with the pro-business DA, a historic rival, and other parties.

The ANC got 40% of the vote, while the DA came second with 22%.

The coalition is a move to the political centre, because the ANC’s left-wing and populist breakaway parties rejected the invitation to join a national unity government.

Mr Ramaphosa is expected to appoint a cabinet in the coming days, which is to include his new coalition partners – the DA and three other smaller parties. Together, the coalition accounts for 68% of seats in parliament.

The president is also expected to set out an agenda to rescue the flailing economy.

Under his rule, the economic performance has continued to suffer amid power cuts, rising crime and unemployment.

Mr Ramaphosa first became president in 2018 when his predecessor, Mr Zuma, was forced to resign because of corruption allegations – which he denied.


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