South Africa gets new President: Cyril Ramaphosa

Cape Town, Feb. 15, 2018 (TNE) Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday was elected President of South Africa by parliament after Jacob Zuma resigned overnight, heeding orders of the ruling African National Congress to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power.

Ramaphosa, 65, has put the focus on routing out corruption and revitalising economic growth.

Experts say Ramaphosa is likely to face a number of challenges in reforming the country’s economy and political system while in office.

Zuma, in power since 2009, resigned on Wednesday after being accused of corruption, prompting the opposition to repeatedly call for his resignation.

ALSO READ: Jacob Zuma quits, Parliament to elect President

Commenting on Ramaphosa’s accession to the presidential office, a number of experts say that the new administration will take steps to cope with the existing South African problems and change government policies.

The director of research at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge said that in comparison with Zuma, South Africa under Ramaphosa will see quite a different approach to political relations within the state and the economic system of the nation.

“Ramaphosa is no saint. There are no saints in politics, but all of the indicators seem to suggest that he is going to be a very different kind of leader to the leadership of Jacob Zuma over the last decade.

“First of all, he seems to be a very good rhetorician, which is very good for politics …

“Secondly he seems to be, given his record at the end of apartheid and the negotiation process that brought in the new constitution, he seems to be a very good negotiator and a very good decision-maker.

“All of these things are important in politics,” Lawrence Hamilton said.

The scholar added that Ramaphosa will also become one of the best candidates for economic transformation and anti-corruption steps.

“I think that one of the best people to do that process of economic transformation is Cyril Ramaphosa, because he will do it in a prudential manner, he will do it in a gradual way.

“He’s got a very hard task on his hands, both in terms of that and in terms of routing out corruption, but I think that South Africans have a great deal to look forward to,” the University of Cambridge official added.

Speaking about the difficulties in South Africa’s economy, James Hamill, a lecturer at the University of Leicester, said Ramaphosa is rather a competent politician and manager and can take steps to improve the economic situation while in office.

“This is a huge task as the economy is floundering but Ramaphosa is a far superior politician, a much more competent manager, he currently enjoys the confidence of both business and organised labour and the confidence of international investors and ratings agencies,” Hamill said.

The ongoing power transition from Zuma to Ramaphosa is not the only one in Africa in recent months.

ALSO READ: Protests in South Africa as pressure grows for Zuma to resign

In November, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s former vice president, was sworn in as president.

The inauguration took place after the army deployed its vehicles to the capital of Harare and confined then-President Robert Mugabe to his house.

The Zimbabwean parliament subsequently approved Mugabe’s impeachment, after which the long-serving leader stepped down.

Commenting on the two power transitions, experts say that the situations in Zimbabwe and South Africa did not have a lot in common and the ongoing developments in the latter are within the constitutional framework.

According to HamillL, Mugabe stepped down after the military intervened in politics, while the situation in South Africa is of democratic nature.

“Given that two leaders have been removed in both countries in such a short space of time, comparisons are inevitable.

“They are not compelling… Zuma is being removed as a result of an entirely legitimate constitutional process.

“He has lost the confidence of his party which has recalled him from office, if he refuses to accept that, he will be removed by parliament,” the University of Leicester official added.


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