Skip to main content

South Africa's Zuma pledges focus on economy in second inauguration

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 10:30 AM EDT, Sat May 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South African President Jacob Zuma vows his government will perform better this time
  • Zuma's party, the African National Congress, won 62% of vote -- lower than before
  • ANC still enjoys widespread support after governing 20 years

(CNN) -- South African President Jacob Zuma was sworn in Saturday for a second term, pledging to focus on the economy in a country battling growing inequality.

"Today marks the beginning of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society," Zuma said during his inauguration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

"This second phase will involve the implementation of radical socioeconomic transformation policies and programs over the next five years."

His party, the African National Congress, won the general election this month, holding on to power despite economic woes, deadly mining protests and corruption allegations.

It got 62% of the vote -- lower than the last time -- with its popularity and that of Zuma's taking a hit due to various issues, including a scandal centered in his private homestead in Nkandla. The state watchdog has alleged more than $20 million of public money was misused in improvements to the sprawling complex. Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

Future of the rainbow nation
First S. African vote since Mandela died
Voters heads to the polls in S. Africa

After a turbulent first term, Zuma said his government will perform better this time around and take responsibility for any shortcomings.

"We will ... ensure much tighter accountability, with firm consequences where there is a failure to deliver services to our people," he said.

He said South Africa has made progress since the days of apartheid two decades ago.

"While the lives of millions of people have improved, poverty, inequality and unemployment still persist," he said.

"Economic transformation will take center stage during this new term of government as we put the economy on an inclusive growth path."

The ANC, which has governed for 20 years, still enjoys widespread support after the defeat of the apartheid system and the beginning of democracy in South Africa.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, were among the heads of state attending Saturday's ceremony.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT