Cyril Ramaphosa replaces Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president
Former President Jacob Zuma resigned earlier this week
South Africa has a new president in Cyril Ramaphosa.
The multi-millionaire and former businessman was sworn into office on Thursday, hours after being elected president by the parliament as a member of the ANC party, which holds the majority.
But Ramaphosa already faces an uphill climb leading not only his country but his party, which has been hit with accusations of corruption. Former president Jacob Zuma in particular came under fire for seeming to give Cabinet positions and other preferential treatment to a powerful business family, the Guptas, who did business with his son.
Ramaphosa will have to fight against Zuma’s corruption legacy and prove to voters that his party can and will do better in order to keep political control.
Can he deliver?
But as the Los Angeles Times noted, Ramaphosa has already spoken to the parliament about how he hopes to improve the country to better the lives for all of its citizens.
“What we have always said is that we will improve the lives of our people on an ongoing basis, and that is what we have been doing since 1994. The lives of our people have been improving on an ongoing basis. All of us should work to improve the lives of our people and take their lives to a higher level,” he said in his address to the parliament.
He also promised to do his best for his country, saying, “South Africa must come first in everything that we all do.”
While Ramaphosa has said that he hopes to improve the economy for his country, he has at times come under fire for being tone deaf when it comes to issues of poverty. For example, he once bid $2.1 million on a buffalo cow in 2012 during an auction. He also came under fire for reportedly calling in police during a strike on a platinum mine where he was a board member. During the August 2012 strike, 34 people were killed by police.
Ramaphosa is also inheriting a major problem in Cape Town. On June 4, the capital city is expected to become the first major modern city to run out of municipal water.