Ramaphosa sworn in as South African President


Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in as the new President of South Africa after his predecessor Jacob Zuma finally relinquished power.

He took the oath of office in Cape Town following his election in parliament earlier in the day.

The former trade union official said fighting corruption and mismanagement of public services would be his administration’s top priorities.

One of the first things he pledged to do was meet with other political party leaders “so we can try and find a way of working together”.

The ANC leader faced a walk-out by the socialist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who tried to block or delay his accession.

Other opposition parties also tried unsuccessfully to call for parliament to be dissolved and an early election called.

But most of the 400 National Assembly members approved his nomination.

MPs broke into song as Mr Ramaphosa rose to his feet and the new role was confirmed.

“I’m trying to adapt to the environment – I’m not used to it,” the chief justice said with a smile, afterwards.

“In a court of law no singing is allowed.”

In his speech, Mr Ramaphosa said he felt “truly humbled to have been given this great privilege of being able to serve our people”.

“South Africa must come first in everything that we all do,” he told MPs.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has offered her “warm congratulations” to the new leader.

She said: “The UK greatly values its dynamic and forward-looking partnership with South Africa, underpinned by the strong people-to-people and business ties between our countries.

“I look forward to working closely with President Ramaphosa to help build a healthier, more secure and prosperous future for both our countries.”

Mr Ramaphosa’s election marks an end to the nine-year rule of Mr Zuma, who resigned on Wednesday after a bitter row with his own party about the timetable for his departure.

After his wife failed to win the election to succeed him as party leader in December, Mr Zuma announced he had “come to the decision to resign with immediate effect”.

“I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability. I am forever grateful that they trusted me with the highest office in the land,” he said.

Mr Zuma has been facing corruption claims.