Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected the new president of South Africa after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
The country’s 400-member parliament, dominated by the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), elected Ramaphosa on Thursday to finish his predecessor’s term, which ends with elections in 2019.
The ANC has finished first in every national vote since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.
Zuma resigned on Wednesday night under mounting pressure from the party, the African National Congress (ANC), leaving both the leadership of the ANC and the continent’s second-biggest economy in the hands of Ramaphosa. South Africa’s ANC demanded Zuma to step down amid corruptigon allegations.
After the parliamentary vote, Ramaphosa addressed the nation, declaring, “Our intent is to continue to improve the lives of our people.” He will be sworn in as South Africa’s fifth post-apartheid president later on Thursday.
In December, 65-year-old Ramaphosa narrowly defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the race to replace South African President Jacob Zuma as the head of the party.
Ramaphosa was born in 1952 in Soweto, a township southwest of the Johannesburg city centre, and went on to study law at the University of the North at Turfloop.
Like Zuma, Ramaphosa rose to prominence as a young man fighting the white minority apartheid regime in the 1970s and 1980s. He went on to become a union leader and one of the nation’s wealthiest black business executives.For years, he had been seen as a possible future president. But the country he inherits is far from the one envisioned by Mandela and his acolytes. During Zuma’s nine years in office, the country’s most important public institutions frayed. Zuma himself was caught up in a string of corruption scandals. The economy dipped into recession. The value of the currency slid.