The resignation of Jacob Zuma on Wednesday created a power vacuum and the Parliament proceeded in filling that void by electing Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president.
The Rainbow Nation’s 400-seat Parliament, convene on Thursday with the majority party the African National Congress (ANC) electing Mr. Ramaphosa to finish the term of his predecessor which ends in 2019.
Every national vote since the end of the white-minority rule during the Apartheid era, the ANC has always come out on top.
The country’s leading opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) staged a walk out of the parliamentary session before the vote, calling it ”illegitimate”.
Ramaphosa defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in a race to replace President Zuma as head of the ANC back in December.
Cyril Ramaphosa,65, was born in 1952 in Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. He studied law at the University of North, Turfloop.
While a student, he flirted in politics by serving as the branch leader of South African Students’ Association.
On a series of occasions, he was locked up for his activism and will later finish his law degree by correspondence through the University of South Africa.
He was an active member of the National Union of Mineworkers in the 80s, serving in the capacity of general secretary for almost a decade.
In 1991, the ANC elected Ramaphosa as the party General Secretary where he played the role of key negotiator on the party’s behalf during the country’s transition to democracy.
He became an MP in the first ever democratic elections in 1994 and helped write the Constitution after the apartheid era.
He was viewed as a likely successor to South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela but lost that position to Thabo Mbeki, who later became president in 1999.
Ramaphosa’s reputation has been tainted in recent years, partly due to his connection to the Marikana massacre of 2012, where 34 mining workers on strike, were shot and killed by police. He was a shareholder and director of Lonmin, a platinum mining company which has urged police to use tougher measures against the miners.
He was cleared after an inquiry but the accusations have continued to be lodged by activists and members of the Opposition party still blaming him for the Marikana incident.
He is expected to be sworn in as President of South Africa in a few hours to finish Jacob Zuma’s mandate.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst