ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON HIS ELECTION AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

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Madame Speaker,
Madame Deputy Speaker,
Chief Justice,
Leaders of all political parties represented in this National Assembly,

I congratulate you Speaker and Deputy Speaker for your election.

I am humbled and honoured that members of this National Assembly have through their votes tonight decided to elect me as President of the Republic of South Africa.

It is with pleasure that I accept. It will once again be a privilege to serve this great nation in the position of President. This is a big responsibility.

I wish to thank all leaders for your congratulatory messages. Your messages are a clear clarion call to work together. Your messages constitute a well of encouragement, good advice and wisdom. I will spend time reading your messages and drawing insights from them. I do believe that there is much I will learn from what you said.

I would like to thank the Members of this august House who have voted for me and who through their vote have invested and placed their trust in me. I intend to work with all members and even those who did not find their way clear to vote for me.

We are all South Africans and I will serve all and work with all.

The significance of the votes for the Office Bearers – the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and President – is not in the result you have delivered but in the historic meaning of this vote and moment.

That several parties that had opposed each other but that represent most South African voters have decided to work together to deliver this result has given birth to a new era for our country.

I sincerely believe that this is an era of hope and inclusivity. As diverse political parties, we competed against each other in the election we have just had.

The election was highly contested and, at times, divisive.

When I spoke at the IEC Results Announcement ceremony, I said: “The results of the election have made plain that the people of South Africa expect their leaders to work together to meet their needs. They expect the parties for which they have voted to find common ground, to overcome their differences, to act and work together for the good of everyone.”

The stark reality of the results of our past election is that no single party represented in this house achieved an outright majority to work alone legislatively or at the executive level.

Through their votes our people expect all parties to work together within the framework of our constitution and work together as political parties to achieve the objectives of a democratic society based on non-racialism, non-sexism and justice and to ensure stability and peace. Our focus must therefore be to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality and promote prosperity for all.

It is in this context that we, as political parties that participated in the 2024 Elections and received the seats we now occupy, need to pledge to cooperate to work together in two ways through a voluntary Parliament of National Unity and a voluntary Government of National Unity.

Honourable Members,

This is a historic juncture in the life of our country, which requires that we must work and act together to entrench our Constitutional democracy and the rule of law, with a clear intent to build a South Africa for all its people.

It is with this in mind that I hereby declare that I accept the mission you are giving me. To work with you all to serve the people of South Africa.

I would like to thank the Chief Justice for steering these proceedings of the first sitting with great ability, patience and excellent leadership.

I thank you all, Honourable Members of this house, for the decorum demonstrated here today.

I have listened carefully to the promises made here about the decorum that will underpin how this house will function in this 7th Parliament. I wish you all a good night’s rest following a hard day’s work of giving effect to the will of our people.

I thank you.

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