After weeks of tension, in which the ruling African National Congress (ANC) cast a spell of intense political uncertainty over the country, Jacob Zuma finally accepted his exit, although with the least amount of approval. Cyril Ramaphosa is now the president of South Africa, and with a sweet tongue, promised sweeping reforms for one of the richest countries on the continent.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s message has been weeding out the devil called corruption. Much of his run to the presidency of the party was hinged on the corruption narrative. Jacob Zuma, a man whose helm at the top leadership post in South Africa was scarred by endless allegations of corruption, could have easily grabbed the “Don’t-vilify-me” card. Most analysts have expressed that Ramaphosa’s dedication to fighting corruption was seen as shots fired towards his then boss, the latter who had weighed his support for his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
But will Ramaphosa deliver on his seemingly compelling promises? During his state of the nation address a few days ago, he exhibited his oratory prowess in promising reforms for South Africa, in promising a new dawn. Important to note, Ramaphosa promised to “turn the tide of corruption”. He also spoke of accelerating land redistribution and outlined plans to boost the economy and create jobs. Job creation was also an important element in his address.
Unemployment has been a thorny issue in South Africa, the youths being affected the most. He highlighted youth unemployment and said he planned to create a million paid internships in the coming years.
"This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions," he said. "We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people."
Any leader is judged on what they deliver, and the methodology employed in delivering their promises. Cyril Ramaphosa will be held to account on these values. It could be a new dawn for South Africa. Julius Malema, leader of the far-left political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said that he will give the incoming president “the benefit of the doubt”. Ramaphosa has had these ambitions for a very long time – and these ambitions have now come to fruition.
With a relief from Zuma’s exit, much awaits to be seen for South Africa. How will Cyril Ramaphosa steer the ship? Will he be better than his predecessor, or he will be worse off?