Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s deputy president, has been elected the new president of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, bringing president Jacob Zuma’s troubled leadership of Africa’s storied liberation movement to an end.
Thousands of enthusiastic delegates dressed in the party’s trademark yellow and green colors burst into thunderous applause and dance as the election results were announced at a conference center on the outskirts of Johannesburg, where the ANC met for the first time in 1990 after the ban was lifted on the organisation.
The move puts Mr Ramaphosa, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and one of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens, in position to become the next president of the country, as the ANC still holds a voting majority. The vote also puts to bed a bitter election battle with fellow challenger Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is 68 and the mother of four of Mr Zuma’s children. Critics saw her bid for presidency as potentially damaging to the party given her close proximity to Mr Zuma and the corruption scandals that have dogged his most recent years in power.
Mr Zuma’s term as head of state will be up in 2019 when national elections are scheduled to be held. David Mabuza, premier of Mpumalanga province, was chosen as Mr Ramaphosa’s deputy president of the party.
Mr Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old lawyer and businessman, inherits one of the world’s greatest liberation movements, but one whose reputation has been battered by corruption scandals and failures to deliver on the promises of a free South Africa.
By Agency report
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