Former embattled South African president, Jacob Zuma, resigned from his post just yesterday over corruption allegations. Just some few hours after his resignation, the ruling ANC has announced Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president of the country.
Cyril Ramaphosa was the only candidate nominated in parliament on Thursday and the announcement was welcomed by singing in the National Assembly.
The ANC had told Mr. Zuma to step down or face a vote of no-confidence.
In a televised statement he said he was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with the party’s decision.
Mr. Zuma faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.
The appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa was not entirely welcome in the house as one opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, walked out of the parliamentary debate. It wants new elections, rather than the ANC deciding on the identity of the new president.
President Ramaphosa is reported to have had his eye on the South African presidential seat since the ANC came to power in 1994. The story goes that he was so upset at not having been chosen by Nelson Mandela as his successor that he left politics and went into business.
But Mr. Ramaphosa has now finally realized that dream.
The new president mentioned that his priority is reviving South Africa’s battered economy. This is believed by so many quarters that it will not be an easy ride for him as unemployment is currently at almost 30%, a rate which rises to nearly 40% for young people.
Low growth rates and dwindling investor confidence were compounded by two credit agencies downgrading the economy to junk status.
One of the first steps in improving that investor confidence is addressing the persistent claims of corruption at the heart of government.
There is a renewed sense of hope as Mr. Ramaphosa is taking over the reins of Africa’s most industrialized economy.
Mr. Zuma’s resignation triggered an improvement in the market. The South African currency, the rand, reaching its strongest levels in three years – at 11.6570 rands for $1 in early trading.