In Summary
  • Foreign heads of state will be among 36,000 people expected to witness the ceremony at a rugby stadium in the capital Pretoria.
  • The 66-year-old leader was unanimously elected by parliament after his African National Congress (ANC) won legislative elections on May 8, winning 230 of the 400 seats.
  • President Ramaphosa's inauguration speech will be scrutinised for clues as to how he plans to tackle the country's many problems.
  • He is expected to name his new cabinet within days after his inauguration, but his choice of vice president hangs in the balance after his deputy David Mabuza said Wednesday he would defer taking his seat as a lawmaker.

PRETORIA,

Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office on Saturday as president of South Africa, facing a brew of expectations and scepticism after vowing to reform the country and revive its economy.

Foreign heads of state will be among 36,000 people expected to witness the ceremony at a rugby stadium in the capital Pretoria.

The 66-year-old leader was unanimously elected by parliament after his African National Congress (ANC) won legislative elections on May 8, winning 230 of the 400 seats.

The victory was earned with 57.5 percent of the vote -- the party's lowest share of the ballot since it overturned apartheid 25 years ago.

MANY PROBLEMS

President Ramaphosa is a trade unionist who played a prominent part in the struggle to end white-minority rule before becoming a successful businessman.

His inauguration speech will be scrutinised for clues as to how he plans to tackle the country's many problems.

They range from a sickly economy in which more than a quarter of the workforce is jobless to entrenched crime and corruption and land ownership that remains overwhelmingly in the hands of whites.

Many solutions will require him to inch his way across the high wire, balancing left wing calls for radical change with demands by investors for caution.

'THE CHANGE'

In his acceptance speech to lawmakers on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa vowed his government was all "about change, and you are going to see the change."

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