Will Ramaphosa finish his second term?
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Cyril Ramaphosa has been inaugurated as the President of the Republic of South Africa at the Union Building in Pretoria to serve his second term under the Government of National Unity.

President Ramaphosa is the fiftieth democratically elected president; he was elected by the National Assembly on February 15, 2018, following the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma. Cyril was then re-elected to serve a second term as president. In terms of the Constitution, the National Assembly must, at the first sitting after the election, elect a man or woman among its members to be the President. Mr. Ramaphosa was elected with 283 votes, against Mr. Julius Malema with 44 votes.

Will President Ramaphosa finish his second term?

Former President Thabo Mbeki, who was the second democratically elected president, didn’t finish his second term; he was called by the ruling party, the ANC, to resign as the President of the Republic of South Africa with about nine months left in his second term. It was alleged that Mbeki used the country’s law enforcement system to undermine Zuma’s chances of succeeding him. 

Former President Jacob Zuma, the third democratically elected president, was asked to resign as the president of South Africa. In 2014, Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela found that Zuma had improperly benefited from state expenditure on an upgrade to his Nkandla homestead, and in 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution.

President Ramaphosa was re-elected, with the Phala Phala allegations hovering like a dark cloud over him. Ramaphosa is accused of concealing the theft of millions of rands in proceeds at his game farm in Limpopo. The President avoided an impeachment process in 2023, and the ANC protected him from accounting to lawmakers about the Phala Phala saga, with allegations levelled against him and the ANC’s worst-performing President in terms of votes.

Professor Siphamandla Zondi from the University of Johannesburg says, “It was never clear at the beginning of the first term whether any of the preseidents after Mandela were going to finish their term. It really depends on the dynamic buildup as the term goes on; usually at the last year or two of the second term, it’s still early now.”

The professor adds that in the manner in which the coalition called the Government of National Unity, it may determine whether President Ramaphosa is considered a success and therefor retains him or they heap on him the failure of the GNU and have to change just for the ANC to have a new face for the next elections.

Mr. Zondi further cites that “it may also depend on the outcome of the 2026 local government elections; if Ramaphosa fails, he may be recalled or he may survive.”

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