Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn into office Saturday as South Africa's president before regional leaders and some 30,000 spectators in Pretoria, the capital.
"I am humbled by the trust you have bestowed upon me," Ramaphosa said, "and I am also aware of the challenges our country faces, but I'm also alive to the fact that our people are filled with hope for a better tomorrow."
Ramaphosa took over the presidency last year after his predecessor Jacob Zuma was forced to step down amid numerous corruption scandals, including using about $20 million in public funds for improvements at his private estate.
Ramaphosa said, "In recent times, our people have watched as some of those whom they had invested their trust have surrendered to the temptation or power and riches."
He told the crowd he envisioned a country free from graft and "resources squandered." He called for South Africa to end poverty in a generation.
The party of Nelson Mandela remains in power with Ramaphosa's election, but its grip on power has slipped. For the first time this year, the ANC won less than 60 percent of the vote.
Ramaphosa said after the election results were announced the election was "a resounding expression of the will of the people of South Africa."