Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth.
Ramaphosa, who becomes the country’s fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria.
“Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal,” said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
“Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities … A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests.
Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.