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What's next for acting President Cyril Ramaphosa?

17 February 2018

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 16 (Reuters) - South Africa will benefit from a wave of positive market sentiment under new President Cyril Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday, as speculation swirled about whether he would keep his job.

The 65-year-old was confirmed as the country's new leader on Thursday just hours after his scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma finally resigned.

He spoke these words in October 2001, four months after he formed Kenya's first coalition Cabinet by including members of the then opposition National Democratic Party in the government.

Ramaphosa, who had been deputy president under Zuma, said his administration would concentrate on creating jobs and attracting investment, and that it is time to restore trust and confidence in South Africa's public institutions and leaders. Eight people, including a member of the Gupta family, have already been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged corruption involving the Guptas, who deny any wrongdoing.

"For those who were hoping that Ramaphosa would return to the ANC as a new broom, sweeping the party clean with a barnstorming assault on its corrupt establishment, years of disappointment lay ahead", wrote Ray Hartley, a journalist, in his book, "Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would Be King". "He sounds like a person who's going to be ruthless when it comes to corruption". He said the government are dedicated to building a society that is defined by decency and integrity and which does not tolerate the plunder of public resources.

Most political parties were cautiously optimistic about Ramaphosa's speech, saying his lofty promises, while inspiring, could also be faulted if the new president doesn't deliver on them.

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Speaking to Inside Education on Friday, Professor Ruksana Osman said that Ramaphosa will have to address the "overall functionality" of the education system to ensure that all children have access to a good quality education.

Ramaphosa said key manufacturing sectors would be overhauled to demonstrate opportunities for worldwide investors and said there there would be further actions to boost growth in the agricultural sector. The country faces many economic challenges, including unemployment of over 25 percent and slow growth.

Ramaphosa said he pursue a policy of "radical economic transformation" that will speed up expropriation of land without compensation, but said this should be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.

Ramaphosa had been handpicked by Mandela to succeed him when his presidency ended.

South Africa's rand extended recent gains early yesterday. Ramaphosa left government afterward and made his fortune in the business world.

The relations between the two countries have been tense for decades over conflicting views on many issues. "We are going to make sure that we do not disappoint our people".

What's next for acting President Cyril Ramaphosa?