South Africa’s Deputy President Dr Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as the 14th president of the African National Congress after a keenly contested election at the governing party’s 54th national conference.
Ramaphosa polled 2440 votes to his rival Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 2261 votes. The winning threshold was 2389 votes. 4770 delegates were accredited to vote.
Also elected as members of the party’s National Executive Committee’s top six were:
Deputy President: David Mabuza who defeated Lindiwe Sisulu
Chairperson: Gwede Mantashe beat Nathi Mthethwa.
Secretary General: Ace Magashule defeated Senzo Mchunu.
Deputy Secretary General: Jessie Duarte retained her position over Zingiswa Losi.
Treasurer General: Paul Mashatile elected over Maite Nkoana-Matabane.
Cyril Ramaphosa, an anti-apartheid activist turned tycoon and politician, takes over from Jacob Zuma who has led the ANC since 2007, and has been president of South Africa since 2009.
Zuma told reporters on Monday afternoon: “I am bowing out. I am very happy … I think from my own point of view I made my contribution.”
The rand surged to a seven-month high on Monday, trading 4% higher in anticipation of a Ramaphosa win.
Ramaphosa became deputy president after his election to the position in the ANC in 2012. At the time he was wooed by President Jacob Zuma’s camp to give the slate “credibility” when then ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe contested with Zuma for the top post.
Before that he was the chair of the national planning commission that produced the National Development Plan, the country’s blue print for growth towards 2030.
Ramaphosa founded one of the biggest and most powerful trade unions in the country – the National Union of Mineworkers.
He is credited as a skilful negotiator, playing a leading role as an ANC negotiator at Codesa, which charted the way from apartheid to democracy.
After the first democratic elections in 1994, he became a Member of Parliament, was elected chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly and played a key role in drafting the country’s constitution, revered the world over.
Ramaphosa led the negotiations for a minimum wage – the first for South Africa to be implemented 1 May 2018.
Ramaphosa was non-executive director of Lonmin and wrote letters to ministers asking for “concomitant action” on miners who were striking to demand salary increases. He has been blamed for the infamous Marikana killings that ensued and for which he has since apologised. But miners have disregarded his apology.
After losing to Thabo Mbeki to take over from President Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa joined the business world to build a net worth of R7.4 billion mostly through the Shanduka group. His detractors have used his roles as chair and non-executive director in various private entities to describe him as a “lover” of white monopoly capital seen to be against the ANC’s call for radical economic transformation.
In 2012 he had to apologise for spending close to R20 million on buffaloes “amid a sea of poverty”.
As part of Zuma’s cabinet, Ramaphosa cannot completely avoid being seen as complicit in some of the decisions for which Zuma has been castigated and on which he has been “silent” over the years, only speaking out against cabinet reshuffles and state capture as he campaigned to take over from Zuma.
However, it is widely believed that he has the wherewithal to return the ANC to winning ways after the governing party lost control of several major cities in municipal elections last year.
NP/With agency reports