South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has elected Cyril Ramaphosa, the country’s Deputy President, as its new leader.
He succeeds President Jacob Zuma in the party and is also poised to lead the country should the ANC win the 2019 elections.
Ramaphosa, 65, defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was Jacob Zuma’s preffered candidate for party head in a series of tight sessions at the ANC conference.
The announcement made on Monday declared Ramaphosa winner after securing 2,440 votes narrowly ahead of Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairperson of the African Union Commission who garnered 2,261 votes. More than 4,700 delegates are said to have cast the ballot.
But the new ANC leader faces a task to revive the glory of South Africa’s strongest and oldest party which has recently been tainted with corruption allegations levelled against Jacob Zuma in his tenure as President.
Ramaphosa rose to political stardom while he was a student of law at the University of the North at Turfloop who served as the branch leader of the South African Students’ Association. Due to his activism, he was later detained numerous times but in the 1980s joined the National Union of Mineworkers, serving as its general secretary for nine years.
In 1991, Ramaphosa became ANC’s General Secretary and three years later, he joined the Parliament as a legislator who was part of the review process of the post-apartheid constitution.
When South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela retired, Ramaphosa stood for President but lost the race to Thabo Mbeki.
He has been widely acclaimed for his tact of negotiating, particularly his role as the ANC’s Chief Negotiator during South Africa’s peaceful transition from the apartheid administration to democracy.
He is currently the Chairman of the National Planning Commission an organ mandated to undertake strategic planning for the future of South Africa.
Beyond politics, Ramaphosa is a renowned business mogul in South Africa whose networth is estimated to be USD 450 million. He owns vast properties and significant shares in major companies.