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South Africa’s Ramaphosa re-elected after coalition deal

Messenger Desk

Published: 09:16, 15 June 2024

South Africa’s Ramaphosa re-elected after coalition deal

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Collected 

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected for a second term on Friday, after his humbled ANC cobbled together an unprecedented coalition government. Lawmakers in Cape Town voted overwhelmingly to put Ramaphosa, 71, back in office for another five years after the May 29 general election that produced no outright winner.

I am humbled and honoured that you, as members of the National Assembly, have... decided to elect me to be the President of the Republic of South Africa, Ramaphosa said in his acceptance speech. Last month's election marked a historic turning point for South Africa, ending three decades of dominance by the African National Congress of the late Nelson Mandela.

The party that led the anti-apartheid struggle won only 40 percent of the vote and, for the first time, lost its absolute majority in parliament. It has now struck a deal to form what it calls a government of national unity.

This is a historic juncture in the life of our country, which requires that we must work and act together, Ramaphosa said. ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said on Friday the broad coalition brings together a majority of the 18 parties that won representation in the 400-seat National Assembly.

These include the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party and other smaller groups. Ramaphosa was re-elected by fellow MPs with 283 votes in a secret ballot. He saw off a last-minute challenge by Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose candidacy gained 44 votes.

Ramaphosa will be sworn in next week in Pretoria and then unveil his new cabinet. Earlier, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had opened the parliament's first sitting, swearing in MPs in batches ahead of votes on the election of a speaker and deputy speaker.

The first post went to the ANC's Thoko Didiza and, in a first sign the power-sharing deal was working, the second went to the DA's Annelie Lotriet. Both are women and Lotriet is from South Africa's white minority.