ANC picks Ramaphosa as leader
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has selected Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party’s leader.
The country’s deputy president defeated former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mr Zuma’s ex-wife, after a marathon voting process.
Mr Ramaphosa is in a strong position to become president in 2019 polls.
The leadership battle caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party may split before the election.
Mr Ramaphosa defeated Ms Dlamini-Zuma by 2,440 votes to 2,261, an ANC spokesperson announced.
The result triggered celebrations among party members.
Media reports earlier said the announcement had been delayed after Ms Dlamini-Zuma’s camp had demanded a recount.
Mr Ramaphosa, 65, has spoken out strongly against state corruption and has the backing of the business community.
Ms Dlamini-Zuma, 68, had been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses and had pledged to tackle what she said was continued racial inequality.
Votes were counted in a leadership election for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), currently run by President Jacob Zuma.
About 5,000 delegates cast their votes in a bitterly fought race between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ex-minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Emotions have run high, with delegates shouting each other down as they raised objections over voting rules.
The ANC has governed South Africa since it attained democracy 23 years ago.
Mr Ramaphosa will be in a strong position to become national president after elections in 2019.
But the leadership battle has caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party may split before then.
It has not been speedy. It had been hoped a result could come on Sunday but the voting only got under way in the early hours of yesterday and went on through the night.
More than 4,700 delegates are at the four-day ANC elective conference at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg and they did not just vote for a leader, but for five other top posts.
Accusations of bogus delegates being given accreditation have not helped matters.
Nevertheless, the ANC was able to confirm at about midday local time (10:00 GMT) yesterday that voting ended with the result announced.
He led the talks in the 1990s to end apartheid rule, before turning to a business career.
The 65-year-old has spoken out strongly against state corruption and for re-energising the economy.
For this, he has the backing of the business community.
Party chief whip Jackson Mthembu took to Twitter to say he had voted for Mr Ramaphosa,
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, is Mr Zuma’s ex-wife and has his support.
A veteran politician, she has been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses and has vowed to tackle what she says is continuing racial inequality.
She served as Nelson Mandela’s health minister, bringing in laws banning smoking in public areas, and later as foreign minister.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula tweeted that he had voted for her.
It would seem so.
Many are saying there could be just the smallest of margins between winning and losing, says the BBC’s Lebo Diseko at the conference.
The leadership contest is also conducted in secret, and legal challenges are possible.
Early rumours of a modest Ramaphosa lead were quickly reflected by a rise in the financial markets.