Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), has been sworn is as South Africa’s president, fewer than 24 hours after the resignation of embattled ex-leader Jacob Zuma.
“I will try very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa,” Ramaphosa (65) said on Thursday as he ended his speech to parliament, shortly after the Parliament elected him, making him the 4th president since the end of Apartheid.
Zuma’s nine-year presidency came to an end on Wednesday, when the 75-year-old announced that he would heed an ANC order and stand down ahead of a scheduled vote of no-confidence against him in parliament.
His resignation in a televised address to the nation came after weeks of pressure to step down due to long-standing corruption allegations.
Observers say the new leader, who was deputy president to Zuma, faces a number of challenges including winning back public and investor support after his predecessor’s tenure, which was blighted by infighting in the ANC and allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement.
Ramaphosa also had to avoid alienating ANC members still loyal to Zuma, despite dwindling electoral support for the party.