"After various recommendations Mickey was appointed and we have endorsed the process. I now want to present to you Mickey Arthur, our new coach," United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) chief executive Gerald Majola said.
The 37-year-old Arthur is known as "Mighty Mickey" in cricketing circles for his success with the country's 'A' squad in 2003 as well as moulding the East London-based Warriors franchise into a formidable team to reach the final of the Pro20 series first time up.
"It's an incredible honour and privilege and I feel that I can really step up to the breach and make a difference," Arthur said at a news conference.
"I am here to create a platform and an environment for our players to perform. My long-term goal is to ultimately become the best in the world," he said.
South Africa is currently rated fourth in One-day Internationals and sixth in Test rankings.
Despite its good performances in the Caribbean -- it won the One-day series 5-0 and the Test series 2-0 against the West Indies -- doubts remained whether it had the ability to take on cricketing heavyweights such as Australia, India and England.
The country's upcoming tour of Australia in December is already seen here as the yardstick of how the new -- and relatively young and inexperienced -- coach will perform.
"Australia is a huge challenge," Arthur admitted to AFP. "My ideal is to get the team to the top and I think that after the Australia tour, we will know where we are (in terms of world rankings)," he said.
Arthur replaces interim coach and former South African wicket-keeper Ray Jennings, whose short-term contract ended with the UCBSA following the end of the West Indies tour.
His appointment ended weeks of speculation around the coach's job, with various contenders including Jennings, former Australian captain Steve Waugh or former Australian Test cricketers Rodney Marsh or his namesake Geoff being named.
"We have not taken this position lightly," Majola said, adding that South Africa's sixth coach since it being allowed back into the international arena in 1992, was chosen from a potential pool of 21 original candidates.
Jennings, upon the team's arrival earlier this week from the West Indies, indicated that he wanted to continue coaching the national team, but admitted that he unorthodox approach to both cricket and human relations have ruffled some feathers within cricketing circles.
"I am not there to be loved. I'm there to get results. I've always believed that if a coach doesn't get results, he should be fired. If he gets results, he should be retained," Jennings said.
But South African captain Graeme Smith said Arthur was a "disciplined coach, who can get the best out of his players. "He is not a soft touch."
Arthur said his coaching philosophy was "slightly different to that of Ray's (Jennings)."
"Ray's been very successful in what he's done. But we are different. My coaching style is more building relationships with players and I try to be a good communicator. I try to get players to go out there and play to the best of their ability," Arthur said.