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  • Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress and former vice-president, has been elected by parliament as South Africa

    Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress and former vice-president, has been elected by parliament as South Africa's new president. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 February 2018

Ramaphosa was the ANC's chief negotiator during South Africa's transition to democracy, but has been criticized for controversial business dealings.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the recently elected leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and former vice-president of South Africa, has been elected by parliament as the new national president a day after Jacob Zuma resigned.

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A majority of lawmakers proposed Ramaphosa to take the reins of the presidency, after the president of the Constitutional Court, Mogoeng Mogoeng, ratified the move.

Opposition legislators, including those from the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, criticized the move and insisted the entire government should resign.

The governing ANC party had called for Zuma to resign due to criticisms stemming from corruption allegations, and threatened to impeach him if he declined to step down.

Zuma formalized his resignation Wednesday, stating: "I have decided to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect, although I disagree with the direction of my organization."

Ramaphosa, a billionaire entrepreneur who assumed the leadership of the ANC in December, said that during his tenure as interim president he will create projects to pledge to reactivate the economy and eradicate corruption.

Who is Cyril Ramaphosa?

- Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is 65 years old, and is said to have been close to late ANC leader Nelson Mandela

- Ramaphosa belongs to the Venda ethnic group

- During Apartheid, Ramaphosa was imprisoned several times for his political activities; during the 1970s, he was accused under South Africa's anti-terrorism laws

- Ramaphosa created and directed the powerful National Union of Miningworkers from 1985 to 1991

- He was the ANC's chief negotiator during South Africa's transition to democracy

- In 1997, he ran for the presidency, but was defeated by Thabo Mbeki

- Ramaphosa was named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2007 

- In 2012 he returned to public policy after a call from Zuma to become vice-president of the country and the ANC, which he did two years later

- He has been criticized for controversial business dealings, include acting as chairman for the MTN Group during the MTN Irancell scandal and his role in the massacre at Lonmin's Marikana premises, which killled 47 people

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