Ramaphosa elected as South Africa's new president

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In his first State of the Nation address to parliament, Ramaphosa struck a note of optimism and outlined a vision to revive the country's economy.

Pretoria-based political analyst and constitutional law expert professor Shadrack Gutto said Ramaphosa must give more power to law enforcement officials to do their work without fear or favour to restore the rule of law.

Ramaphosa was Mandela's chosen successor, but when he lost the race for deputy president to Mbeki, those plans were scrapped. Eight people, including a member of the Gupta family, have already been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged corruption involving the Guptas, who deny any wrongdoing.

"We remain a highly unequal society in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race as well as gender", he said.

After he was sworn in as new president, Ramaphosa promised not to disappoint the people of South Africa and vowed that his administration would always put the country first. During that time, Zuma faced a slew of corruption scandals that have drained support from the ANC, earning him the moniker of the "Teflon president".

Gutto said the new president would have to bring reforms to stimulate economic growth, in order to create jobs.

Ramaphosa founded the National Union of Mineworkers, which organized the poor laborers who provided the backbone of the apartheid economy. (There is an excellent profile of him, published in 2013, here.) He is a man of enormous experience and substantial achievements, both as a trade unionist and, more recently, as a businessman who has amassed a fortune estimated past year to be worth more than 550 million USA dollars.

The ANC had told Mr Zuma to step down or face a vote of no-confidence. He sat on many corporate boards and acquired interests in many sectors - including mining, finance, South Africa's McDonald's restaurants and Coca-Cola bottling plants - where his high-level ties to the ANC proved useful. The South African currency, the rand, reaching its strongest levels in three years - at 11.6570 rand for $1 in early trading. Under his leadership the union became South Africa's largest, growing in membership from 6,000 to 300,000. Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party since December, went unopposed during a session of Parliament.