South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa promises “new dawn”

Cyril Ramaphosa was christened as South Africa’s new President and made his first State of the Nation address on Friday, infusing the sentiments of former President Nelson Mandela into his messaging of a “new dawn” under his reign.

“We are continuing the long walk he [Nelson Mandela] began, to build a society in which all may be free, in which all may be equal before the law and in which all may share in the wealth of our land and have a better life,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa clearly has big shoes to fill.

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Ramaphosa delivered his speech at the National Assembly in Cape Town a final conformation of his presidency. He has been ruling the African National Congress (ANC) party since December. His predecessor Jacob Zuma resigned amid scandal.

“We are building a country where a person’s prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work, and not by the color of their skin, place of birth, gender, language or income of their parents,” Ramaphosa said.

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He also promised that past corruption would not define his future. His presidency, he says, will be “defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.”

Taking back the land

South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, wants to address the legacy of colonization in his country by taking land from white farmers and giving it to the Black citizens.

Ramaphosa said in an address to South Africa’s parliament in Cape Town that the “original sin” of the country was the European colonizers taking land from the tribal people in the 1600s.

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The president said that he wanted to see “the return of the land to the people from whom it was taken… to heal the divisions of the past.”

“The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate redistribution of land to black South Africans,” Ramaphosa said.

He went on to promise, “We will handle it in a way that is not going to damage our economy.”

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