Cyril Ramaphosa to be sworn-in today as South Africa's new president following Zuma's resignation

FORMER anti-apartheid activist Cyril Ramaphosa is to be sworn-in today as South Africa's president following the resignation of Jacob Zuma yesterday in what is expected to end the period of political uncertainty dogging the country.


Currently the deputy president and leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Mr Ramaphosa is a veteran of the fight against white minority rule. Mr Ramaphosa, who replaced Mr Zuma as ANC leader in December, became acting president and soon as Mr Zuma stepped down and will be voted in as head of state in parliament later in the day.


Earlier this week, in the face of his defiance, the ANC had been preparing to vote to remove Mr Zuma through parliament, which would have forced his resignation. Seeing the writing on the wall, Mr Zuma said that he disagreed with the ANC’s decision to sack him and that the party had not explained why he must go, he finally stood down.


Following his resignation, the Johannesburg stock market surged by more than 3% today and the rand soared to a near three-year high against the dollar amid hopes that Mr Ramaphosa would begin the work of reviving Africa’s most industrialised economy. One of the country’s richest black businessmen, Mr Ramaphosa has pledged to crack down on corruption, address years of stagnant growth and combat rampant unemployment and poverty.


Mr Zuma’s exit has been greeted with relief across South African civil society and anger that it did not come sooner given scandals and allegations of endemic graft in the state that dogged his presidency. His party, the ANC,  finally turned against him after nine years of corruption scandals, economic slowdown and falling popularity..


In a 30-minute national television address, last night, Mr Zuma said he had come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect. Mr Zuma, whose reputation has been stained by years-long allegations of graft, complained that the ANC party had never explained to him why he had to leave office.


He said he had received very unfair treatment from the party he joined in 1959 and in which he had fought for decades against apartheid white-minority rule. Mr Zuma said he was angered over the manner in which the decision is being implemented.


ANC senior official Jesse Duarte said: "We are not celebrating. We have had to recall a cadre of the movement that has served this organisation for over 60 years, it’s not a small matter.”


Yesterday  morning, police had raided the Johannesburg home of the Gupta business family, which is accused of overseeing a web of corruption during Mr Zuma’s rule. Police said three unidentified people had been arrested in investigations into Vrede Farm, an allegation that millions of dollars of public money meant for poor dairy farmers were siphoned off by the Guptas.