Ramaphosa vows action on corruption as he assumes South African presidency

16 Feb 18

South African’s ruling party leader Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in as the country’s new president after Jacob Zuma resigned amid pressure to step down.

Ramaphosa, leader of the ruling African National Congress, was made head of state on Thursday and will deliver his first state of the nation address on Friday, where he will set out plans to tackle corruption and boost economic growth.

Ramaphosa’s election as president was unopposed by South Africa’s parliament and has received a warm welcome from South Africans wanting change after nine years of slow growth and corruption scandals under Zuma, who denies all wrongdoing.

In a speech late on Wednesday, Zuma told the nation that he would step down with immediate effect on orders of the ruling party.

He said the budget speech would go ahead as planned and be delivered by finance minister Malusi Gigaba on 21 February.

Zuma has faced numerous allegations of corruption since taking office and earlier this month claimed the charges should be dropped.

The opposition had called for Zuma to be removed from office before 8 February, when he was due to deliver the state of the nation address, which was postponed.

The parliament had scheduled a motion of no-confidence against the now former president later this month.

South Africa’s economy slipped into recession last year for the first time since 2009.

Ramaphosa will see out the remainder of Zuma’s presidency until the election next year.

South Africa scored highest, along with New Zealand, on global budget transparency in last week’s Open Budget Survey, which found efforts to make budgets more transparent have stalled for the first time in a decade.

The finance minister said last month that South Africans would have to “bear some pain” as a result of the “tough decisions” made in the budget to stabilise the country’s debt.

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