South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him. “The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Cyril Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance. He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country . Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell. Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling
Many people are asking why the governing African National Congress (ANC) is happy after recording its worst performance since white minority rule ended in 1994 - 58% share of the vote.
This is the first time the party that has led South Africa since 1994 has won less than 60% of votes, but for an organisation that is hugely divided, riddled by corruption and has had a decade of lethargic leadership, this result is seen as a boost for its new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.
Many people see this as the ANC's last chance to redeem itself.
Mr Ramaphosa took over the party in December 2017, after the ANC sacked Jacob Zuma, embroiled in corruption allegations, which he denies.
One of its senior members, Fikile Mbalula, said the party's share of votes "would have probably dropped to 40%" had its leadership not changed.
But the ANC shouldn't celebrate too soon.
The people of South Africa may have given the ANC a mandate to lead, but it is not unconditional.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory in Wednesday’s election, but a drop in its share of the vote underlines the challenge he faces restoring confidence in his party.
With opponents in the ANC and an emboldened far-left opposition party, the former union leader turned business tycoon may struggle to deliver on his promises to push through tough reforms.
Africa’s oldest liberation movement won 57.5% of the parliamentary vote. That was its worst parliamentary result since it swept to power at the end of white minority rule but an improvement on its showing in 2016 local elections.
Ramaphosa worked closely with South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela to end white minority rule in 1994. He replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018 after winning a bitter contest to become ANC leader and convincing top party officials to instruct Zuma to resign.
Ramaphosa’s first full presidential term should start later this month, after nomination by his party’s parliamentary caucus and an inauguration ceremony.
“We’ve made mistakes, but we are sorry about those mistakes, and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday after casting his ballot in the Soweto township where he grew up.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday rejected a newspaper report that he failed to stop 1.9 billion rand ($132 million) being illegally siphoned from VBS Mutual Bank.
“The Presidency categorically rejects reports that … Ramaphosa failed to take action on the VBS Bank saga despite being alerted to irregularities back in 2017,” his office said.