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SOUTH AFRICA

Ramaphosa sworn in as president of South Africa

A man with a lot on his plate: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
A man with a lot on his plate: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday took the oath of office as president of South Africa, promising "a new era" against a background of expectations that he will revive the economy and fight corruption.

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Foreign heads of state from more than 40 countries were among 36,000 people who witnessed the event complete with pomp, military honours and an airforce flyover at a rugby stadium in Pretoria.

The 66-year-old leader was unanimously elected by parliament to a five-year term after his African National Congress (ANC) won legislative elections on 8 May, taking 230 of the 400 seats.

The ANC collected 57.5 percent of the vote, its weakest result since apartheid was overturned 25 years ago.

Ramaphosa is a trade unionist who played a prominent part in the struggle to end white-minority rule before becoming a successful businessman.

He faces a herculean task to tackle the country's many problems - from a sickly economy in which more than a quarter of the workforce is jobless, to entrenched crime and corruption, not to mention land ownership with most valuable farmland still overwhelmingly in the hands of whites.

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