Economy

Cyril Ramaphosa elected South Africa's President

Cyril Ramaphosa elected South Africa's President

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected by a majority in parliament as South Africa's president on Thursday, marking a turning point for the country after the slow-motion collapse of the once-legendary ruling party under Jacob Zuma.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the parliamentary election and congratulated Ramaphosa, who had been Zuma's deputy and in December was narrowly elected leader of the ruling party over Zuma's ex-wife.

"I resign as President of the Republic (of South Africa) with immediate effect", Zuma said in a nationally-televised broadcast, ending a nine-year tenure before his second and final term of office which was scheduled to end with national elections in 2019.

He is expected to deliver the much-anticipated state of the nation address on Friday evening.

Jacob Zuma in Cape Town, South Africa, in February 2018.

The rand, which has gained ground whenever Zuma has hit political turbulence, soared more than one per cent to a two-and-a-half year high of 11.79 against the dollar. The resignation brought an end to nearly a decade years that was plagued with a lot of scandals.Cyril Ramaphosa who was elected as the President back in December is expected to replace him.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party will cooperate with Mr Ramaphosa if he acts in the interests of the South African people, said party leader Mmusi Maimane.

It is often said that Mr Ramaphosa has had his eye on the position of president since the ANC came to power in 1994.

He said he was angry over the way in which the decision had been carried out "as there is no evidence of if I have done anything wrong".

"We can no longer keep South Africa waiting", said Paul Mashatile, the ANC's treasurer general.

"I will try to work very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa", Ramaphosa added.

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"No life should be lost in my name".

"The shenanigans of Jacob Zuma nevertheless reveal the massive weaknesses of the political party he comes from".

In another clear sign that the Zuma era is finished, the South African police raided the Johannesburg residence of the Gupta family, closely associates of Zuma, business partners of his son, and widely linked with corruption, known as "state capture".

The ANC party had threatened to move a motion of no confidence against Zuma on Thursday if he failed to resign from office as the party had demanded.

Other ministers under Zuma's administration who may face the axe include Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi.

But his late-night speech was more confident and warm.

Mr Malema gave a lengthy account of Mr Zuma's numerous misdeeds.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) leadership had given Mr Zuma until midnight to accede to his "recall" from the presidency - or be fired through an opposition-tabled parliamentary vote of no confidence.

The crisis of recent days has further damaged the ANC, as well as angering many South Africans who are becoming increasingly impatient with the party's opaque internal procedures.

Ramaphosa, who has vowed to fight corruption and revitalise the economy, is seen by business leaders and investors as well placed to turn around the economy.


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