South Africa: Ramaphosa's Turn - Hard Work Ahead

analysis

The election and swearing in of Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa as South Africa's fifth president on Thursday marked the end of a bruising 11 days in the politics of the governing ANC that reverberated around the country. It has also ended the dominance of ANC exiles in the highest office of government, shifting the political culture firmly to those anti-apartheid activists who learnt their skills inside South Africa, organising at grassroots level within - and with - communities.

The optics are different. And so is the tone. Styling himself as "a servant of the people of South Africa", Cyril Ramaphosa - shortly after being elected as president in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon - said: "South Africa must come first in everything we do."

As one of the first steps as president-elect, he announced that there would be meetings with the opposition parties to find ways of co-operation, and made a commitment to raise the tone and level of discussion in the House so that the focus fell on debates to resolve national issues, not chaos.

"One of the things I will be seeking to do is to have an opportunity... to work with all political parties...

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