President Ramaphosa is sworn in for a second term in office in South Africa

MPs approved Ramaphosa's re-election after the 29 May general election, in which his party, the ANC, won but lost its absolute majority
El sudafricano Cyril Ramaphosa jura su segundo mandato como presidente de Sudáfrica en los Edificios de la Unión en Pretoria el 19 de junio de 2024 – PHOTO/Kim LUDBROOK/POOL/AFP
South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa is sworn in for his second term as South African President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 19 June 2024 - PHOTO/Kim LUDBROOK/POOL/AFP

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, re-elected for a second term, took the oath of office Wednesday during an inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria.

MPs approved the re-election of Ramaphosa, 71, after the 29 May general election, in which his party, the ANC, won but lost the absolute majority it had enjoyed.

"The formation of a government of national unity is a profoundly significant moment. It is the beginning of a new era," Ramaphosa declared after being sworn in by Raymond Zondo, president of the country's highest court, the Constitutional Court.

The ceremony was attended by some 20 heads of state and government, who were greeted by local musicians and dancers. Twenty-one cannon shots were fired and the national anthem was sung, and military helicopters hoisted national flags into the sky.

Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, became president following the resignation of Jacob Zuma in 2018, and in 2020 he was re-elected.

In the 29 May elections, voters punished Nelson Mandela's historic party against a backdrop of growing poverty, endemic unemployment and corruption, and the ANC won only 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament. As a result, Ramaphosa will have to lead a coalition government and share power with part of the opposition, which is unprecedented.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), a liberal formation with 87 MPs, responded affirmatively to Ramaphosa's call to form a unity government.

So did the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which won 17 seats, and two other smaller parties.

In contrast, Julius Malema's radical left-wing Fighters for Economic Freedom (EFF) and the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party of disqualified former president Jacob Zuma have moved closer together in recent days, vowing to "crush" the "white-led" government alliance.