Johnnesburg, South Africa- Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's current deputy president, has been elected the new leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, after a series of tense sessions at the party's conference. The ANC announced on Monday that Ramaphosa had defeated President Zuma’s preferred candidate Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairperson of the AU Commission, to become the leader of Africa's oldest liberation movement. More than 4,700 delegates cast their ballot in a marathon voting session that began late on Sunday and continued until mid-morning on Monday. Ramaphosa won 2,446 votes, to Dlamini-Zuma's 2,261.
He will replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC president and almost certainly run as presidential candidate when South Africa takes to the polls in 2019. Zuma will remain as president until then, but it is possible that Ramaphosa and the new national executive may recall him over a series of allegations of graft that has dogged his tenure as president. It was a leadership race that threatened to split the party, with the two leading candidates presenting completely different visions for the future of the country. Voting had been initially delayed after ANC officials battled to vet delegates, forcing the conference itself to start late. Hundreds of delegates were also disqualified from voting. Earlier on Monday, Zuma told reporters that he was bowing out happily. "I’m bowing out very happy because I think ... I made my contribution. So I am very happy."
In his final address as ANC president on Saturday, Zuma appeared to endorse Dlamini-Zuma, the former head of the AU Commission and his ex-wife, when he said that it was a milestone that there were three female candidates for president. He also blamed ill-discipline among party cadres and factionalism for the failures of the party. He made no mention of the ways in which he had brought the party into disrepute over several allegations of corruption.(FA)