South Africa’s Ramaphosa hails ‘new dawn’, warns of tough decisions

South Africa will face “tough decisions” as it works to repair its economy after years of stagnation, new President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a sober address on Friday that sought to draw a line under the turbulent rule of his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Hailing a “new dawn” a day after his inauguration, he promised to fight corruption, which had weakened the state-owned enterprises in Africa’s most industrialized economy, and to trim a bloated cabinet. Ramaphosa said his government was committed to “policy certainty and consistency,” in contrast to Zuma, who was criticised for policy shifts and unpredictable cabinet changes that rocked domestic financial markets and confounded investors. The 65-year-old was sworn in as head of state on Thursday after Zuma reluctantly resigned on orders of the ANC. “This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions,” Ramaphosa said in his first State of the Nation address. “We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people,” he added. Ramaphosa’s election as president, which was unopposed in the parliament, has prompted a wave of optimism among South Africans hungry for change after nine years of economic stagnation and corruption scandals. Zuma denies all wrongdoing. “Tough decisions have to be made to close our fiscal gap, stabilise our debt and restore our state-owned enterprises to health,” Ramaphosa said. He promised… [Read full story]


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