Cyril Ramaphosa takes oath as South Africa's president
Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday took the oath of office as president of South Africa at a colourful ceremony, vowing "a new era" amid expectations he will revive the economy and fight corruption. Foreign heads of state from more than 40 countries were among 36,000 people who witnessed the event replete with pomp, military honours and an airforce flyover at a rugby stadium in Pretoria.
He took the oath of office in front of some 30,000 people at a stadium in the capital, Pretoria, with several regional leaders from Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and elsewhere in attendance.
The inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party's 57.5% victory in this month's election. It was the party's weakest election showing since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994.
Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling party's reputation. Without him the ANC likely would have received just 40% of the vote, one party leader, Fikile Mbalula, has said.
There was no sign at Saturday's ceremony of Zuma, who has insisted he did nothing wrong and that allegations are politically motivated. His allies within the ANC leadership pose a challenge to Ramaphosa as he pursues reforms.
Ahead of the election Ramaphosa apologized to South Africans for the political turmoil. He also vowed to continue the fight against mismanagement and graft that has hurt the country's economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.