Cyril Ramaphosa has been confirmed as the new president of South Africa hours after the controversial leader Jacob Zuma resigned from the position.
Ramaphosa, who was the nation’s deputy president, was the sole candidate nominated for the presidency during the session held by the South African Parliament following Zuma’s resignation.
The presidency of Ramaphosa, who is the leader of the ruling party African National Congress (ANC), was welcomed by many lawmakers in National Assembly in Cape Town. However, members of opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters walked out of the chamber in protest.
“I truly feel humbled to have been given this great privilege of being able to serve our people,” Ramaphosa said to the parliament after being named President. He said he intends to lead the nation with humility, faithfulness, and dignity.
Ramaphosa’s election concludes a dramatic week that saw Zuma resigning from the presidency after facing enormous pressure from his own party. Zuma’s presidency had been marred by years-long allegations of corruption before finally being essentially forced out of the ANC and out of power.
The former leader denied all corruption allegations against him. However, in a televised address on Wednesday night, he announced that he was stepping down from his position, saying he had been disturbed by instances of violence outside the ANC’s headquarters.
“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as President of the republic with immediate effect,” Zuma said in his statement.
Ramaphosa was Nelson Mandela’s favored successor when he stepped down as president in 1999. However, he was outmaneuvered by Thabo Mbeki for the position. Now, almost two decades since missing out on the presidency, Ramaphosa has finally taken power.
The new president was chosen as deputy leader in Zuma’s ticket in 2012 and was elected as the leader of the ANC in December.
Ramaphosa’s career achievements include founding the biggest mineworkers’ union in South Africa, as well as leading talks that led to the end of the apartheid and produced the nation’s first democratic constitution.