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SA to welcome new President in sixth administration

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President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa will tomorrow be inaugurated as South Africa’s sixth democratically elected President and take charge of the highest office in the land.

The President-elect is expected to take his oath of office on Saturday as part of the swearing-in ceremony that will be performed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The President-elect will then proceed to sign the swearing-in certificate at the ceremony to be attended by several imminent persons and thousands of South Africans at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in the capital.

In his journey leading up to the inauguration, Ramaphosa was elected unopposed in the National Assembly after he was nominated by the African National Congress (ANC).

He was elected to fill the top post at the first sitting of a newly constituted Parliament comprising the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Ramaphosa’s election in Parliament on Wednesday put to bed a pilgrimage that began with South Africans making their “X” in the country’s national and provincial elections that took place on 8 May, in which the ANC claimed victory.

The Presidential Inauguration represents the beginning of a new chapter for South Africa.

About the President-elect

Ramaphosa, 66, was born in Johannesburg, where his family was moved from the Western Native Township to Soweto in 1962.

Having moved to Limpopo, he completed his schooling at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda, after which he studied law at the then University of the North in 1972.

He joined the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and subsequently served as the chairman of the body’s branch in 1974.

He was also no stranger to being detained under the then apartheid law.

He was detained for 11 months under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act for organizing pro-Felimo rallies in 1974 and again following the 1976 Soweto student uprisings.

While serving as a law clerk in Johannesburg, he continued his studies through the University of South Africa and obtained his B. Proc degree in 1981. He then became the legal advisor of the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA).

In the following year, Ramaphosa, together with James Motlatsi and Elijar Barayi, founded the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at the request of CUSA.

He subsequently became the NUM’s first General Secretary, a job he would also take on after the unbanning of the ANC in 1991.

Ramaphosa also served as chairperson of the National Reception Committee, which coordinated arrangements for the release of the South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, Ramaphosa became a Member of Parliament (MP) and was elected as chair of the Constitutional Assembly, where he was responsible for overseeing the drafting of South Africa’s internationally acclaimed first democratic Constitution.

After the Constitution drafting process, Ramaphosa left Parliament as well his position as ANC Secretary General to pursue business interests, including the establishment in 2001 of Shanduka Group,s a black-owned investment holding company.

His role in drafting the Constitution was recognised when in 2009 he was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver.

He was appointed Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission in 2010, a body created to draft the long-term National Development Plan (NDP) for South Africa.

In December 2012, he was elected ANC Deputy President at the ANC’s 53rd National Conference in Mangaung.

In 2014, he was appointed as South Africa’s Deputy President on 25 May. Tomorrow, on the same day of his appointment five years ago, he will ascend to the highest office in the country after serving as President since 15 February 2018.

In December 2017, Ramaphosa was elected as the 13th ANC President at its 54th National Conference in Johannesburg.

His inauguration will coincide with Africa Day celebrations across the country.

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