JOHANNESBURG – Cyril Ramaphosa has officially taken the oath of office as president of South Africa in front of a crowd of thousands, including African dignitaries at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
Ramaphosa was sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Sitting and former heads of state from the African continent were among about 30,000 people who witnessed the ceremony.
In front of a packed Loftus Versveld Stadium, Ramaphosa took the oath of office: “I, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, swear that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all laws of the Republic.”
The president promised to uphold the Constitution: “So, help me, God.”
There was then a flypast, with parachutists jumping into the stadium and a 21-gun salute, while the national anthem played.
Ramaphosa was unanimously elected by Parliament after the African National Congress (ANC) won the 8 May elections.
The swearing-in ceremony broke away from tradition by moving from the Union Buildings where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black president in 1994.
Following Ramaphosa’s inauguration, the focus will now shift to his new Cabinet.
The current Cabinet will continue to function until Ramaphosa appoints new ministers and deputies.
The president is expected to announce his highly anticipated Cabinet on Sunday.
What has become clear is that there will be fewer portfolios. Some ministries may be scrapped, and others could be merged, while most deputies will be done away with.
Deputy ministers are not members of the Cabinet, but they will also be revealed when the new Cabinet is announced as they are required to assist ministers in the execution of their duties.
But all eyes will be on who Ramaphosa chooses as his deputy president.