On the strength of his pro-investment approach, Cyril Ramaphosa's elevation is being viewed with hope - and it comes at a propitious time.
Of all the country's politicians, one stands out as having probably the most intimate knowledge of mining, a vital sector of the South African economy, but one that continues to endure damaging political hostility.
Cyril Ramaphosa is that man, and many - in mining and beyond - are pinning their hopes on him.
As Institute of Race Relations policy fellow John Kane-Berman writes in the IRR's latest @Liberty report, Mining and People: The Impact of Mining on the South African Economy and Living Standards, Ramaphosa not only "cut his teeth as a trade unionist" in the industry but is today a critical figure for a sector desperately in need of an ally.
Cautiously optimistic sentiments emerging from the 24th annual Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week reflect the hope that, at last, this foundational industry of South Africa's international economic standing will find a partner, not an opponent, in government.
Mining, Kane-Berman says, is "well positioned for a new lease of life" - but "without an absolutely fundamental improvement in the policy environment...