Ramaphosa sworn in for second full term

Heads of state attend South African president’s inauguration

AFP June 20, 2024


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed “the beginning of a new era” on Wednesday as he was sworn in for a second full term after his weakened African National Congress (ANC) struck a hard-won government coalition deal to remain in power.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the 71-year-old last week after a May 29 general election produced no outright winner for the first time in three decades.

“The formation of a government of national unity is a moment of profound significance. It is the beginning of a new era,” Ramaphosa said, after taking the oath during a ceremony at the Union Buildings, the seat of government, in Pretoria.

Speaking before lawmakers, foreign dignitaries, religious and traditional leaders and cheering supporters, Ramaphosa said voters did not give any party a full mandate to govern alone.

“They have directed us to work together to address their plight and realise their aspirations,” he said.

Numerous heads of state, including Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Angola’s Joao Lourenco, Congo Brazzaville’s Denis Sassou Nguesso and Eswatini’s absolute leader King Mswati III attended the inauguration.

After Ramaphosa was sworn in, a band played the national anthem, followed by a 21-gun salute and a fly past by the air force.

In what observers said will be a “first test” for the coalition, the president is expected to announce his cabinet in the coming days, as talks among members continue. “The tough part starts now,” political analyst Daniel Silke told AFP.

Ramaphosa will have to balance demands for key ministerial posts from his party and its new allies and mediate diverging views to come up with a common policy agenda on the economy and much else in a relatively short timeframe, he said.



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