Parliament - Newly sworn-in President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday committed the government he now leads to ethical behaviour and leadership.

Delivering the 2018 State of the Nation Address a day after being sworn in, Ramaphosa spoke of change and renewal after years of criticism against his predecessor Jacob Zuma who resigned under pressure this week.

Zuma's presidency was dogged by controversy and allegations of state capture and criminal behaviour.

There was a reason, Ramaphosa said, why the year 2018 was dedicated to Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 in July. "We have dedicated this year to his memory and we will devote our every action, every effort, every utterance to the realisation of his vision of a democratic, just and equitable society. Guided by his example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership," said Ramaphosa.

In what many interpret as criticism of the Zuma era, Ramaphosa said South Africans should put all the negativity "behind us".

"We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders," he said.

African News Agency/ANA