JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s newly-elected members of the National Assembly took their oath of office as lawmakers on Wednesday, two weeks after the general elections that saw Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) win with an absolute majority.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the parliamentary session, in which the country’s president as well as the National Assembly speaker and deputy will also be elected by the 400 lawmakers.
“All members have now been sworn in,” the ANC wrote on Twitter.
The ruling South African party is due to give incumbent President and leader of the ANC Ramaphosa their votes for a five-year term in office.
Ramaphosa took over as president in February last year after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma (2009-2018), was forced to resign after caving to party pressure due to allegations of corruption and influence-peddling.
The party of the late Nelson Mandela remained in power for the sixth consecutive time since the end of apartheid after it garnered 57.5 of the vote (230 out of 400 seats) in the May 8 elections, which is the lowest-ever vote share for the ANC.
Meanwhile, South African vice president, David Mabuza, surprisingly announced earlier that he would not swear in on Wednesday.
“The deputy president made the request in light of a report by the ANC Integrity Commission in which he is alleged to have prejudiced the integrity of the ANC and brought the organization into disrepute,” the ANC said in a statement.
Mabuza “has indicated he would like to have an opportunity to address Integrity Commission on these allegations,” the statement added.
This move triggered speculation that Mabuza will not continue as vice president when Ramaphosa announces his new cabinet in the upcoming days.
The ANC’s main challenger, the Democratic Alliance, holds 84 seats in the National Assembly, followed by the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, with 44 seats.
On May 5, Ramaphosa vowed to punish government officials found guilty of corruption, acknowledging his party had made mistakes and that corruption had caused severe damage.
“The era of impunity is over. We are now entering the era of accountability. We are now entering the era of consequence,” Ramaphosa said.