Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday took the oath of office as president of South Africa at a colourful ceremony, vowing “a new era” amid expectations he will revive the economy and fight corruption.
“A new era has dawned in our country. A brighter day is rising upon South Africa,” Ramaphosa said in his inaugural address.
“This is a defining moment for a young nation like ours. It is a time for us to make the future that we yearn for.
“I pledge here today that I will serve you …to build the South Africa that we all want and deserve.
“Let us declare that when we gather to celebrate the 50th year of our freedom there shall no longer be any person in this land who is unable to meet their basic needs”.
Zuma absent at inauguration ceremony
All of the country’s former presidents were at the ceremony except for Zuma, who on Friday attended a court hearing on corruption charges in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg.
He told supporters afterwards he was too busy to go to Pretoria for Rhamaphosa’s inauguration.
“There is no time. I am fighting to stay out of jail,” Zuma said.
One of his wives was to attend the ceremony however.
More than 2,500 police were deployed for security, while a battalion of soldiers performed ceremonial parades inside the stadium. The airforce put a spectacular aerobatics display overhead.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has castigated the government for what it called a “wasteful” expenditure of 120 million rand ($8.3 million) for the ceremony.
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