By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - South Africa’s parliament on Thursday elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s new president to replace 75-year-old Jacob Zuma, who resigned on Wednesday night.
Ramaphosa, 65, was Zuma’s deputy and leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Party.
“I declare Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa as duly elected president of the Republic of South Africa,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng announced on Thursday, after he was elected unopposed by the country’s National Assembly.
ANC’s majority legislators sang and danced in the parliament after their candidate was declared head of state.
Ramaphosa is a former trade unionist, anti-apartheid struggle activist and one of South African’s wealthiest businessmen.
Jackson Mutembu, the ANC’s parliamentary head, said his party is honored for having been supported by all political parties to elect Ramaphosa unopposed.
Ramaphosa thanked the parliament for electing him and pledged to work with all political parties in uplifting the lives of the people of the country.
"I will try to work very hard to not disappoint the people of South Africa," he said amid loud cheers from lawmakers.
Opposition parties also welcomed his election saying his ascendance to power was a collective of all South Africans fed up of Zuma’s “corrupt leadership”.
“Through our collective actions you (Ramaphosa) have brought the toxic leadership of Mr. Zuma to ground,” Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement said in parliament.
Zuma resigned on Wednesday after the ANC announced Tuesday it had decided to remove him from office but did not give any reason.
Zuma’s second term in office was supposed to end in mid-2019. His tenure in office has been marred by several accusations of corruption.