New era for SA after Ramaphosa swearing-in


South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa lifts up his right hand during swearing-in ceremony at the Union Buildings, Pretoria

PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – NOW that he has been inaugurated for a second term, President Cyril Ramaphosa must announce a cabinet to hit the ground running and address the myriad of challenges afflicting South Africans.

He was sworn in at the Union Buildings in the capital Pretoria on Wednesday in a colourful, well-attended ceremony.

A majority of leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and those heading other regional blocs joined thousands of South Africans at the event marking the resumption of the second term for Ramaphosa (72).

To an extent, the high number of civilian attendees at the lawns of the Union Building was a sign of unemployment.

But that is only a tip of the iceberg of the issues that the incoming government faces.

Government has to unite a nation that is now torn apart by disunity after an election where competition was cutthroat and has been rejected by some parties, mainly the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) of former President Jacob Zuma, as rigged.

He is the only former head of state that snubbed the swearing-in of Ramaphosa.

Addressing dignitaries and the public, Ramaphosa was reconciliatory in his approach, in line with the government of national unity (GNU) which his African National Congress (ANC) is to form with some few parties, including its nemesis, the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

Some officials of the DA were in attendance.

“The parties of the Government of National Unity have decided to work together to address our most pressing needs,” Ramaphosa said.

He continued, “We look into this rising tide with optimism and hope.”

Ramaphosa conceded nonetheless that the elections and the outcome had left the nation of more than 60 million people divided.

There has been some opposition to a coalition government that includes, DA, owing to its roots in the National Party that presided over apartheid, and accusations the DA represents the interest of the minority white.

Zuma’s party has sought legal intervention in a bid to have the election outcome annulled. There had been fears of violence in the runup to the swearing in.

Ramaphosa remained defiant.

“Those who seek to sour divisions in our country will not succeed,” he said.

“Those who seek to undermine our institutions will fail. Nothing will distract us from serving the people,” Ramaphosa said.

African leaders and the African Union (AU) have endorsed the election.

Ramaphosa said in the coming days, he would be announcing the new cabinet.

“Watch this space,” he said as he could not specify the date.

A plethora of problems characterize South Africa.

Besides high unemployment, crime is rampant, corruption is huge, with the president himself implicated.

He is implicated in a scandal where millions in foreign currency were allegedly found stashed in his farmhouse.

The issue has dominated Parliament in recent months but he received a major boost when the DA federal chairperson, Hellen Zille, was quoted as saying the party would shield Ramaphosa in case of any call for impeachment.

The DA has been the most vocal on the issue and appears thus to have made a U-turn following the coalition with ANC.

In South Africa, poverty levels are high. In recent months, the country has been struggling to provide water and electricity to some citizens.

On the day of the wearing in, taps ran dry in the historic and impoverished township of Soweto, which this winter has been subjected to “load reduction”, comprising up to five hours of power cuts.

Authorities say some residents overloaded the system through illegal power connections.

Protests over service delivery are rife.

– CAJ News

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