As Ramaphosa starts second term, here’s why parliament elects South Africa’s president

Sharon EboesomiJune 20, 20245 min

South Africa’s parliament re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term as the country’s president with the help of lawmakers from opposition parties.

Parliament elect Ramaphosa as South Africa President | Here’s what you need to know

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramophosa has been re-elected and inaugurated for a second term as South Africa’s president.

The inauguration took place on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in Pretoria with Chief Justice Raymond Zondo leading Ramaphosa’s oath of office ceremony before lawmakers, foreign dignitaries, religious and traditional leaders.

“In the presence of everyone assembled here, and in full realisation of the high calling I assume as President… I Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa swear that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Several heads of state attended the inauguration, including Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Olusegun Obasanjo, others are King Mswati III of Eswatini, Joao Lourenco of Angola, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville.

Shortly after Ramaphosa‘s swearing in, he vowed a “new era” for the country.

71-year-old Ramaphosa was re-elected for a second term in office last week, following a last-minute agreement with rival political parties. This comes after a historic two-week-long coalition agreement between the opposition parties and the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

On Friday, June 14, 2024, a day of intense political drama, the National Assembly met late into the night to ratify the individuals who would lead the incoming administration before deciding to re-elect Ramaphosa.

The lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Ramaphosa, after a May 29 general election that produced no outright winner.

The broad coalition, according to the ANC Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula, brings together a majority of the 18 parties that won representation in the 400-seat National Assembly. Among them are the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), a centre-right party, and various smaller groups.

The President called for the party members to prioritise South Africans in his victory speech while praising the new coalition.

Why the Parliament elects South Africa’s President

In South Africa, the president serves as both the head of state and government, as well as the commander-in-chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). This unique system leads to a distinct process for electing presidents compared to other former British colonies, which have adopted the Westminster system. Instead of being directly elected by the people, the South African president is chosen by the South African Parliament. The election takes place during the first sitting of Parliament following an election or whenever there is a vacancy. This system combines aspects of both parliamentary and presidential systems.
President Ramaphosa won 283 votes in a secret ballot against Mr Julius Malema, who received 44 votes.

A statement from the Parliament of South Africa reads: “In terms of the Constitution, the National Assembly must, at its first sitting after its election, elect a woman or a man from among its members to be the President.

“Mr. Ramaphosa was elected with 283 votes against Mr Julius Malema with 44 votes. The Constitution states that when elected President, a person ceases to be a member of the National Assembly and, within five days, must assume office by swearing or affirming faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.

“The President-elect will be inaugurated during a ceremony in Pretoria which, according to the Constitution, should take place within five days after the President’s election.

“Once the President has taken the oath of office, he will proceed to form a cabinet, selecting ministers who will head various government departments and execute the administration’s policies. Additionally, the President will convene a joint sitting of the newly established National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces for the Opening of Parliament Address (OPA).”

Congratulatory messages

The President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Fortune Zephania Charumbira, has congratulated Ramaphosa on his re-election and pledged the unwavering commitment of PAP to continue working closely with the Republic of South Africa, in pursuit of the continental development and integration agenda.

See congratulatory message below:

Parliament elect Ramaphosa as South Africa President | Here’s what you need to know

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has also congratulated Ramaphosa on his re-election and extended his congratulatory message to South Africans on the peaceful and successful conduct of the general election.

Sharon Eboesomi

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