Cyril Ramaphosa elected president of the ANC

19 December, 2017, 11:13 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is the other favourite to take over at the ANC

South Africa's ruling party, African National Congress formally nominated two candidates on Sunday in a race to succeed President Jacob Zuma as leader of the party.

The vote also amounted to a rejection of Mr. Zuma, who had backed the other main contender, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician and his ex-wife.

But now as ANC leader, Ramaphosa is likely to become the country's next president after elections in 2019.

In a boost to Ramaphosa, courts ruled that officials from some provinces seen as supporting Dlamini-Zuma had been elected illegally and were barred from the conference.

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The party's treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and Naledi Pandor declined to stand for the position of deputy president, leaving it a shoot-out between Mpumalanga's ANC chairperson David Mabuza and NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu.

A victor had been expected to be announced on Sunday, but owing to long delays, the vote had been pushed back repeatedly.

Ramaphosa, 65, a former trade union leader, led the historic negotiations in the 1990s to end apartheid before launching a business career that made him one of South Africa's wealthiest men.

Though either presidential candidate could still prevail, Ramaphosa had the edge after the nominations were announced, with the backing of 1,469 ANC branches, compared to Dlamini-Zuma's 1,094.

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Zuma has faced allegations of corruption since he became head of state in 2009 but has denied any wrongdoing.

His rival Dlamini-Zuma, who was preferred by the outgoing president, had criticised the influence which white-owned businesses had been able to exert and promised to tackle what she perceived as continued racial inequality.

"The race is extremely close", Susan Booysen, a political analyst at the University of Witwatersrand's School of Governance in Johannesburg told Reuters.

When branch nominations were collated earlier this month, Ramaphosa snatched an early lead.

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Mantashe also announced that the conference will start at 14:00, with outgoing president Jacob Zuma's political report . Mantashe said the conference would only begin at 2pm as some delegates were still being registered.

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