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South Africa's new leader pledges to tackle state corruption

17 February 2018

"We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us", Ramaphosa said in a speech in parliament that drew enthusiastic applause.

The South African currency, the rand, has strengthened since Mr Ramaphosa's ascent, but the new president faces the long-term problem of sluggish economic growth and unemployment of over 25%.

"There were too many conferences and summits announced‚ and not enough clear plans for fixing the problems‚" he said.

The new president said his administration would concentrate on creating jobs and attracting investment, while also possibly downsizing bloated government departments and restructuring state-owned enterprises that are inefficient and prone to corruption. "The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption".

Registered on 16 January 2018, the account holds just 15 posts and is still described as the account of the "President of the African National Congress" not including the President of South Africa.

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Police have already arrested eight people in a probe of a dairy project in which state funds earmarked for local farmers allegedly were siphoned off to a company tied to the Gupta family, which denies any wrongdoing.

Ramaphosa, a lead negotiator in the transition from apartheid to democracy in the early 1990s, was elected by jubilant ruling party legislators anxious to shed political limbo and get the leadership of the country back on track.

According to the President, he looks forward to working with the new President of South Africa to enhance cooperation of the governments of Africa's two leading economies.

"This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation", he told parliament.

South Africa's new leader pledges to tackle state corruption