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JOHANNESBURG — It’s official. Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as South Africa’s new president, starting a chapter of renewed hope in the country. Speaking to Parliament after being nominated, he said this moment was a truly “humbling” one. His address to Parliament was inspirational. His ascendency to the top presents a fresh start for the country. He has all the qualities required for great leadership, but he’ll be tested thoroughly. And there’s no time to waste: South Africa’s pressing economic woes require urgent attention and millions must be lifted out of poverty. – Gareth van Zyl
Congratulations President Ramaphosa!!! Your people have been abused for too long. Restore their dignity.
— Given Mkhari (@MkhariGiven) February 15, 2018
Ramaphosa’s nomination went unopposed Thursday in the 400-seat National Assembly, although the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters walked out of the chamber after arguing that early elections should be called and the appointment would be illegal.
Ramaphosa, 65, will be sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng later in the day and is due to deliver his first state-of the nation address on Friday. He staked his claim to the top post when he replaced Zuma as leader of the African National Congress almost two months ago.
A former lawyer and one of the richest black South Africans, Ramaphosa has promised to revive the struggling economy, create jobs and tackle corruption. His appointment more than a year before national elections could help the ANC win back voters alienated by a succession of scandals, policy missteps and inappropriate appointments during Zuma’s nine-year tenure.
The power shift has cheered investors with the rand gaining the most of any currency against since Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president on Dec. 18. It was close to a three year high of 11.6617 per dollar at 2:34 p.m.