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South Africa Elects Cyril Ramaphosa As Its New President

Ramaphosa started as a mine worker before becoming a tycoon. The leading anti-apartheid activist and wealthy businessman who was elected chief of the governing African National Congress in December.
James Motlatse, center, head of the National Union of Mineworkers, and Cyril Ramaphosa, right, general secretary of the union, join hands in singing the national anthem with miners in August 1987 after union members voted to continue a strike by gold and coal miners until their demands had been met. The negotiations brought Ramphosa to national prominence, and to the attention of Nelson Mandela. Source: Samson

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa by parliament Thursday, his elevation was guaranteed after Jacob Zuma resigned the presidency late Wednesday night.

Following the vote on the floor of the National Assembly, Ramaphosa accepted words of praise from supporters and overt electoral threats from opposition leaders — then stood at the same podium where, 22 years ago, he shepherded the ratification of South Africa's constitution.

Ramaphosa, 65, promised to "continue to improve the lives of our people," and said he would "work very hard to try to not disappoint the people of South Africa."

It was a clear indication he plans to take the country in a different direction

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