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Cyril Ramaphosa gestures on the day he takes the oath of office for his second term as South African President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, 19 June 2024. REUTERS

Ramaphosa sworn in for second term, calls for unity in South Africa

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Cyril Ramaphosa took the oath of office and began his second five-year term as South Africa’s president on Wednesday.

But he will have to lead a government in which no party has a majority.

His African National Congress(ANC) party lost the majority for the first time in 30 years. The ANC, along with the rival Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom parties, will lead a coalition government, dubbed the Government of National Unity.

The party leader acknowledged that the ANC has fallen short in certain areas and assured citizens that the party would work to deliver reforms.

“As the President of the Republic, I will work with everyone to reach out and work with every political party and sector that is willing to contribute to finding solutions to the challenges our country faces as we transition to a new decade of freedom,” he added.

Ramaphosa also used his inaugural speech to hail the formation of the Government of National Unity, describing it as the “beginning of a new era.” He urged citizens to “come together as a united nation.

“Those who seek to stand in our way, those who seek to inflame tensions, will not succeed, because South Africans are resolute,” he said. “Those who seek to undermine our institutions will fail because democracy lives in the hearts of our people and never be dislodged.”

The ANC said South Africa’s new government has five parties in it so far, representing more than two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly.

He is expected to announce his cabinet in the coming days, as talks with coalition members continue.

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