Cape Town, South Africa
Ramaphosa takes charge: Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of South Africa last Thursday, hours after the abrupt late-night resignation of Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa (pictured), 65, was elected leader of the ANC last year – against Zuma’s wishes – and the party had been trying to get the scandal-ridden president to stand down gracefully for weeks. Ramaphosa now faces the mammoth task of reviving the fortunes of his party and his country, after an eightyear, scandal-plagued Zuma presidency marked by economic mismanagement and rampant corruption. In a state of the nation address, President Ramaphosa vowed to “turn the tide of corruption” in a “new dawn” for South Africa.
A former lawyer and trade unionist, Ramaphosa was the ANC’s chief negotiator in the talks that led to the dismantling of apartheid in 1994. Nelson Mandela favoured him as his heir, but the presidency went to Thabo Mbeki in 1999. Ramaphosa quit front-line politics (while remaining in the ANC) and went into business, building up a fortune of about £320m. He became deputy president in 2014, and beat Zuma’s preferred candidate, his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to the ANC leadership.