Cyril Ramaphosa was voted in by parliament as South African president on Thursday, hours after the late-night resignation of Jacob Zuma ended a weeks-long power struggle in the ruling African National Congress. Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC leader, bowed as his party’s members of parliament sang “rise up, Ramaphosa” as the result was announced. “South Africa has just emerged from a historic and challenging time,” said Baleka Mbete, the parliamentary speaker. “Our democracy has matured and remains resilient.”

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, now faces the daunting task of reviving Africa’s most industrialised economy following nine-years of Mr Zuma’s rule that was characterised by stagnant growth, graft allegations and sliding support for the ruling party. In a statement, the ANC said Ramaphosa’s tasks as president would require “amongst others, restoring the credibility of public institutions, state-owned enterprises and law enforcement agencies”, a reference to criticism that under Jacob Zuma’s watch important agencies were mismanaged and had their independence compromised.

Former President Zuma’s second term came to a sudden end on Wednesday night as he resigned with immediate effect during a televised address — abruptly reversing course after he had resisted weeks of intense pressure from the ANC to stand aside for Cyril Ramaphosa. In the face of his defiance, the party had been preparing to vote to remove Jacob Zuma through parliament, which would have forced his resignation. To the last, Zuma said that he disagreed with the ANC’s decision to sack him and that the party had not explained why he must go. “I do not fear exiting political office, however I have asked the party to articulate my transgressions,” Former President Zuma said.

The Johannesburg stock market surged more than 3% on Thursday and the rand hit a near three-year high against the dollar amid hopes that the incoming President Ramaphosa would now begin the work of reviving Africa’s most industrialized economy. One of the country’s richest black businessmen, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC leader in December after pledging to crack down on corruption, address years of stagnant growth and rampant unemployment and poverty. Jacob Zuma’s exit has been greeted with relief across South African civil society — and anger that it did not come sooner given the scandals and allegations of endemic graft in the state that dogged his presidency.

It should have come long agowe’ve all been wishing for this day,” said Milly Metherell, a retiree living in Johannesburg’s Soweto township. “All the excuses the ANC were making for him, it’s come to an end.” But in a sign that President Ramaphosa will have to act fast to convince sceptics that he is able and willing to address the ills of both party and government, she said: “I’m not going to put any money on Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s the same ANC, just a different face.”

After Ramaphosa’s election in parliament, Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, said: “We don’t have a Jacob Zuma problem, we have an ANC problem . . . we must go back to the people of South Africa and request a fresh mandate.”Support for the ANC has been sliding under Jacob Zuma’s watch; in local elections in August, it lost control of Johannesburg, the commercial hub, the capital, Pretoria, and Port Elizabeth, an industrial city, for the first time since it came to power in 1994, as its share of the vote plunged to close to 50%. The ANC “should accept as an organisation that we should have given him marching orders a long time ago”, Cheryl Carolus, a veteran of the party, told local radio on Thursday.

There are, however, early indications that the net is closing in on some of those implicated in corruption scandals. On the day Jacob Zuma’s resignation the Hawks, an elite anti-corruption unit, raided the Johannesburg home of the Guptas, a business family accused of using a friendship with Former President Zuma to influence government affairs. Several arrests were made but local media reported that Atul Gupta, one of the three Indian-born brothers, was on the run, as is Duduzane Zuma, Jacob Zuma’s son who is the family’s business partner. “If we are to prevent this happening again, it is important that we understand how this monumental heist of a democratic society and a large complex economy happened,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, an NGO.

President Ramaphosa is due on Friday to deliver a state of the nation address that was delayed last week amid the ANC’s infighting, before presiding over a crucial budget next week. Analysts say that he is also likely to replace ministers appointed by Jacob Zuma, a difficult task given the divisions exposed in the ANC by the past fortnight’s turmoil. The Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse, a group that campaigned against the so-called “state capture” under Jacob Zuma, said that Cyril Ramaphosa must “move swiftly to reshuffle the cabinet and remove those who were appointed by Zuma for reasons that defy rational reasoning but were clearly appointed to serve his own interests”.

In connection with Wednesday’s raids linked to the Guptas, five individuals will appear in court on Thursday on charges of money laundering, corruption and theft of state funds, a Hawks spokesperson said.

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