ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa elected president of South Africa

  15 Feb 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected the new president of South Africa after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.

The country’s 400-member parliament, dominated by the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), elected Ramaphosa on Thursday to finish his predecessor’s term, which ends with elections in 2019.

The ANC has finished first in every national vote since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

The Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), the country’s leading opposition party, walked out of the parliament session before the vote, calling the election by the ANC “illegitimate”.

In December, 65-year-old Ramaphosa narrowly defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the race to replace South African President Jacob Zuma as the head of the party.

Ramaphosa was born in 1952 in Soweto, a township southwest of the Johannesburg city centre, and went on to study law at the University of the North at Turfloop.

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He subsequently joined student politics and served as the branch leader of the South African Students’ Association.

Ramaphosa was detained on a series of occasions due to his activism and finally finished his law degree through correspondence via the University of South Africa.

In the 1980s, he became an active member of the National Union of Mineworkers, serving as its general secretary for nine years.

Ramaphosa was elected general secretary of the ANC in 1991, and in the years that followed was a key negotiator on behalf of the party during South Africa’s transition to democracy.

After the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he became a member of parliament and helped write and review the post-apartheid constitution.

He was also considered as a potential deputy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, but lost that position to Thabo Mbeki, who became president of the country in 1999.

Ramaphosa became involved with Black Economic Empowerment ventures in business, especially mining and farming, and is today one of South Africa’s wealthiest people.

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