A wealthy businessman who was a close ally of Nelson Mandela took over on Thursday as South Africa’s new leader.
Parliament confirmed Cyril Ramaphosa as the nation’s new president hours after Jacob Zuma resigned his presidency under pressure from leaders of his own ruling African National Congress (ANC). Zuma, who was elected president in 2009, was mired in several corruption scandals.
ANC lawmakers congratulated Ramaphosa as they try to take the party in a new direction.
“I truly feel humbled to have been given this great privilege of being able to serve our people,” Ramaphosa declared in an address to parliament after his confirmation, adding that he would work diligently “not to disappoint the people of South Africa.”
Below, key background on Ramaphosa:
A trade union-leader-turned-businessman
Ramaphosa, 65, is one of South Africa’s wealthiest businessmen with an estimated net worth of $450 million. He was a trade union leader during the apartheid era and built his wealth after the ANC came to power in 1994. The new president is married to Tshepo Motsepe, the sister of Africa’s richest Black businessman Patrice Motsepe.
Ramaphosa, a lawyer, was Mandela’s chief negotiator in crafting the post-apartheid constitution for the country after White minority rule. His negotiating skills earned him international praise, including an invitation in 2000 to be one of two international arms inspectors in the Northern Ireland peace process.
Mandela reportedly wanted Ramaphosa to succeed him as president. Instead, ANC leaders pressured Mandela to back Thabo Mbeki. After this disappointment, Ramaphosa left politics and turned his attention to business.
Leader of the ANC
Despite his earlier setback in the political arena, Ramaphosa returned, eventually rising this past December to become head of the ANC.
From Maé Bérénice Méité To Jesse Owens: 18 Iconic Olympic Fashion Moments
1. Maé Bérénice Méité, 2018 Winter OlympicsSource:Getty 1 of 18
2. Pita Taufatofua, Also Known As The Tonga Guy, 2016/20182 of 18
3. James Harden, LeBron James, 2012 London OlympicsSource:Getty 3 of 18
4. Kobe, Carmelo, and Dwyane, 2008 Beijing OlympicsSource:Getty 4 of 18
5. Michael Jordan, 1992 Barcelona OlympicsSource:Getty 5 of 18
6. Meldrick Taylor, 1984 Los Angeles OlympicsSource:Getty 6 of 18
7. Sydney 2000Source:Getty 7 of 18
8. Nagano 1998Source:Getty 8 of 18
9. Atlanta 1996Source:Getty 9 of 18
10. Montreal 1976Source:Getty 10 of 18
11. Mexico City 1968Source:Getty 11 of 18
12. Innsbruck 1964Source:Getty 12 of 18
13. London 1948Source:Getty 13 of 18
14. Dominique Dawes, 1996 Atlanta OlympicsSource:Getty 14 of 18
15. Barbie Honors Ibtihaj Muhammad With One-Of-A-Kind Doll, 2016 Rio OlympicsSource:WENN 15 of 18
16. Usain Bolt, 2016 Rio OlympicsSource:WENN 16 of 18
17. Simone Biles, 2016 Rio OlympicsSource:Getty 17 of 18
18. Jesse Owens At The 1936 Olympic Games In BerlinSource:Getty 18 of 18
Here’s Everything We Know About South Africa’s New President Cyril Ramaphosa was originally published on newsone.com