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ANC Retains A Slim Majority In South Africa's Parliament

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

South Africa's governing party won last week's elections. The African National Congress retained its majority in Parliament. But the ANC's share of the vote declined from previous elections, showing public unease with corruption and economic inequality. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports on what the winners promise to do.

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OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: During an African National Congress victory rally yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised South Africans a fresh start, to do better and to deliver on campaign pledges and appoint people of integrity to top positions in government.

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PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA: We, as the African National Congress, we are saying we have heard what our people want. Our people have given us a clear message.

QUIST-ARCTON: The challenges facing Ramaphosa and the ANC are legion - fixing South Africa's struggling economy, responding to public anger over graft by party officials and their cronies and ensuring a better life for all. The president told thousands of supporters he's dealing with corruption, which he says must become a thing of the past in South Africa.

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RAMAPHOSA: With this election, they were saying state capture must be history. We must never, ever, ever go back to state capture.

QUIST-ARCTON: State capture, as it's known in South Africa, involves influence peddling, including the looting of state coffers by ANC officials and others. Several investigations are currently being held. Ramaphosa must also strive to unite his divided governing party and admits this election in which the ANC lost votes was a tough one.

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RAMAPHOSA: They thought that the ANC was going to loser power.

QUIST-ARCTON: The ANC managed to hold onto eight out of nine provinces but with a reduced parliamentary majority. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Dakar. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.