President Ramaphosa re-elected to lead South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as the President of the Republic of South Africa, who will lead the seventh democratic administration.

After a full day of proceedings during the first sitting of the National Assembly of the seventh Parliament, Ramaphosa — the President of the African National Congress — was on Friday evening nominated for the position of President.

The sitting took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in the Western Cape.

Three hundred and thirty-nine ballot papers were issued and counted, with 12 invalid ballots. Ramaphosa received 283 votes against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, who received 44 votes.

African National Congress Member of Parliament (MP), Mdumiseni Ntuli, nominated Ramaphosa for the position of President, and was seconded by Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader and MP, Velenkosini Hlabisa, during a process that was presided over by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The President’s election came after former Agriculture, Land Refo
rm and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly after a vote in the House.

READ | Didiza appointed new National Assembly Speaker

Didiza was declared by Justice Zondo as a Speaker after receiving 284 votes against her contestant, Veronica Mente from the Economic Freedom Fighters, who received 49 votes.

The Democratic Alliance’s Dr Annelie Lotriet was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly for the seventh Parliament. This after she received 273 votes, while fellow nominee, Vuyolwethu Zungula, the African Transformation Movement leader, received 54 votes.

The first sitting of the National Assembly took place after the General Election on 29 May. The day’s proceedings started with the swearing in of Members of Parliament, who either took an oath or affirmation that enjoins them to be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, and to obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic.

READ | New Members of Parliament
sworn in

South Africa’s recent National and Provincial Elections were the most contested and most compelling since the dawn of democracy in 1994. As in the post-1994 election period, President-elect Ramaphosa is expected to lead a Government of National Unity into the future.

This will be his second term as the leader of South Africa’s government.

He is expected to be inaugurated next Wednesday, 19 June.

Messages of congratulations

After Justice Zondo declared the re-election of President Ramaphosa, various political parties took turns in congratulating him.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said the day is a historic day for the country, and the start for a new chapter of building, cooperation, and putting the country’s interests and future first.

‘In these elections, the voters chose not to give any party its own majority, and in doing so, they have told us that they want us to work together to build a prosperous non-racial, united South Africa, with a great economy that works for everybody
. We must now rise to the occasion and rise to the call of South Africa,’ Steenhuisen said.

EFF leader Julius Malema also congratulated the President, saying his party accepts the results and the voice of people of South Africa expressed during the elections.

‘We are going to ensure that this Parliament is functional,’ Malema said.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Velenkosini Hlabisa, said this is the beginning of a new era.

‘The IFP stands ready to serve in the government of South Africa. We enter the government of national unity with an open mind and eyes wide open.’

READ | Date set for Presidential inauguration

Ramaphosa was sworn in as the President of South Africa for the first time on 15 February 2018 and again on 22 May 2019 after the 2019 elections.

The early years

The President was born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg. His family was moved from Western Native Township to Soweto in 1962, where he attended Tshilidzi Primary School.

He completed high school at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa,
Venda in 1971.

Ramaphosa began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).

The President holds a law degree from the University of South Africa, and has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities.

He received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987 and was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2009 for his contribution to the multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly.

Prior to becoming the President of South Africa, Ramaphosa served as the Deputy President since 2012.

Source: South African Government News Agency