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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

One Of South Africa’s Richest Ramaphosa Wins Election As ANC President

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected leader of the African National Congress on Monday in a close-run vote that will set the direction for the country and the scandal-plagued party that has ruled since the end of apartheid.

As ANC leader, Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa’s richest people, is likely to become the country’s next president after elections in 2019.

He has promised to fight rampant corruption and revitalize the economy, a message hailed by foreign investors. 

The victory puts Ramaphosa in line to succeed President Jacob Zuma, whose reign has been plagued by corruption scandals, economic slowdown and growing anger at the once-omnipotent party.
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Thousands of raucous Ramaphosa supporters sang and chanted in the conference hall as rival backers of defeated candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma appeared dejected.
Ramaphosa won 2,440 votes to Dlamini-Zuma’s 2,261.
The vote was a long and acrimonious process. Delegates from around South Africa cast their ballots after repeated delays caused by disputes over who was entitled to vote.
Hundreds of attendees were banned from the poll, raising the possibility that supporters of Dlamini-Zuma, a former minister who is Zuma’s ex-wife, could launch legal appeals against the result.
“I hope you will cooperate with the new leadership… as we move to the 2019 elections” Baleka Mbete, party chairwoman, told delegates.
– Falling public support –
The ANC, which has ruled since 1994 when Nelson Mandela won the first multi-racial vote, could struggle to retain its grip on power in the 2019 election due to falling public support.
Ramaphosa, 65, is a former trade unionist leader who led talks to end white-minority rule in the early 1990s and then became a multi-millionaire businessman before returning to politics.
He is often accused of failing to confront Zuma while serving as his deputy since 2014.
Dlamini-Zuma was head of the African Union commission until earlier this year and a former interior, foreign affairs and health minister.
She had four children with Zuma before divorcing in 1998.
Allegations swirled of delegates being targeted with bribes, but ANC spokesman Khusela Sangoni earlier told reporters that the process had proceeded “smoothly”.
Zuma, who could face prosecution for corruption charges, will step down as party chief at the conference but will remain as head of state ahead of the 2019 vote.
“I’m bowing out very happy because I think… I made my contribution, so I’m very happy,” said Zuma on Monday as he walked around the vast conference centre hosting the event.
Soaring unemployment and state corruption have fuelled frustration at the ANC among millions of poor black South Africans who face dire housing, inadequate education and continuing racial inequality.

“TOP SIX” SPLIT

Analysts say the bitterness of the power struggle between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma has increased the chances that the party will find it hard to set policy and could possibly split before the 2019 national election.

After his victory, Ramaphosa will be ANC’s flag-bearer in that election, but will have to contend with Dlamini-Zuma’s allies in his leadership team, meaning that their policies are divergent.


Dlamini-Zuma is a fierce campaigner against racial inequality whose hostility to big business has rattled investors in South Africa. Backers of Ramaphosa, say she is peddling populist rhetoric and would rule in the mould of her former husband.

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