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JOHANNESBURG — Cyril Ramaphosa has beaten his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the race to become president of the African National Congress (ANC). Final vote results released on late Monday afternoon indicated that Ramaphosa (with 2 440 delegates’ votes) received more votes than Dlamini-Zuma (2 261), making him the ANC’s new president. The victory will be viewed as the beginning of the end of the Zuma era which brought about years of economic decline and rampant corruption. Ramaphosa’s next moves will be watched closely. – Gareth van Zyl
UPDATE ON OTHER TOP 6 MEMBERS:
Deputy President – David Mabuza 2538 Lindiwe Sisulu 2159 (Mabuza wins).
National Chair – Gwede Mantashe 2418 Nathi Mthethwa 2269 (Mantashe wins).
Secretary-General – Ace Magashule 2360 Senzo Mchunu 2336 (Magashule wins).
Deputy Secretary-General – Jessie Duarte 2474 Zingiswa Losi 2213 (Duarte wins).
Treasurer general – Paul Mashatile 2517 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane 2178 (Mashatile wins).
— Nickolaus Bauer (@NickolausBauer) December 18, 2017
Ramaphosa, 65, won 2,440 votes for the ANC presidency at the party’s national elective conference in Johannesburg, while Dlamini-Zuma, 68, secured 2,261, the electoral agency that oversaw the vote said Monday. The outcome is a blow to President Jacob Zuma, who backed his ex-wife to succeed him and now risks being ousted before his second term ends in 2019.
A lawyer, former labor-union leader and one of the wealthiest black South Africans, Ramaphosa has pledged to revive South Africa’s stagnating economy and clamp down on the state corruption that’s marred Zuma’s almost nine-year tenure. He was the favored candidate of investors, business leaders, labor unionists and the ANC’s communist party allies.
Voters may see the transfer of power to Ramaphosa as a break with the Zuma era, and it should boost the ANC’s chances or retaining an overall majority in the 2019 elections, according to analysts including Daryl Glaser, a political science professor at the University of Witwatersrand.
Support for the party fell to an all-time low of 54 percent in last year’s municipal elections, and it relinquished control of economic hub Johannesburg and Pretoria, the capital, to opposition coalitions.
Ramaphosa’s ascendancy to the top ANC post caps a remarkable comeback in a political career that looked to be over when he lost out to Thabo Mbeki in the race to succeed Nelson Mandela as president in 1999.
He amassed a fortune after starting an investment company and securing stakes in a coal-mining venture with Glencore International Plc and the local McDonald’s Corp. franchise. Ramaphosa returned to full-time politics in 2012, when he was elected as the ANC’s deputy leader, and Zuma named him vice president in 2014.
Ramaphosa, who has a buffalo and antelope ranch in the northern Limpopo province, will have to take tough decisions to restore investor confidence and will confront a number of obstacles that will make it difficult to resuscitate Africa’s most-industrialized economy, according to Ben Payton, head of Africa Research at Verisk Maplecroft, a Bath, England-based risk-advisory company.
“It stretches credibility to imagine that Ramaphosa could win the ANC leadership without striking deals with key power brokers who seek to maintain a patronage-based political system,” Payton said in emailed comments. “The struggle to hold the ANC together would dominate Ramaphosa’s tenure as leader and influence all his most important policy decisions.”
Ramaphosa wins, purges set to begin
Cyril Ramaphosa has pulled it off. He has been elected as president of the ruling African National Congress. He is expected to immediately take steps to purge the organisation of the Zupta influences – which could start with the recall of President Jacob Zuma himself.
It is not clear how quickly Ramaphosa can carry out a purge of the corruptive elements in his party – those that have been seen to have played the Gupta family game. Ramaphosa, during the campaign for the presidency, said there needed to be something like a truth commission, to which errant elements in the ruling party should report.
On 22 May this year Ramaphosa plotted the path of such a truth commission. He told Business Live that: “We need to find the truth and clear it up through an independent judicial commission. It is about time that we put it to rest.”
Ramaphosa made the proposal to set up such a commission after the South African Council of Churches issued a report – of its “Unburdening Panel” – which said South Africa “may be inches away from a mafia state from which there could be no return… a recipe for a failed state.”
Significantly the SACC, which represents the mainline churches in South Africa, said at the time: We urge the ANC to examine itself, find a way … and act, as this has implications for it and its government.”
It wrote the report after allegations that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas had been offered a bribe by the Gupta family. It painted a disturbing picture of state entities being used to enrich a powerful elite close to President Zuma.
Ramaphosa took it to heart, listening to its advice that the ANC needed to “clean-up its act” and restore the confidence it once enjoyed.
Speaking in Rustenburg – at the Moses Kotane lecture in May – Ramaphosa was reported as saying: “The SACC stood up on a public platform and said we are on the brink of a mafia state. That is very sad. It should make everyone sad… If we as the ANC are to recover the leadership role in society, it is imperative that we act urgently.”
That was seven months ago.
Now Ramaphosa can act. Once he gets Zuma out of office as President of South Africa, he will be able to step in as president. He will then be able to purge the government administration of all those associated with the State Capture nightmare. The state capture report came to the public attention at the end of 2016 when then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela issued the report just as she was leaving office.
Madonsela has since said that state capture has pretty much “poisoned the (ANC) waters”.
Ramaphosa, of course, isn’t saying whom he is going to purge from the movement. Not yet. But the most likely will be the Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown who has presided over the meltdown at Eskom, the Social Services Minister Bathabile Dlamini – head of the ANC Women’s League – who came close to imploding the national social welfare grant system.
Dlamini has – unsurprisingly – been at the forefront of the campaign behind Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s failed bid for the party presidency. She has gone so far to dictate to ANC Women’s League delegates to the elective conference that they should back Dlamini-Zuma – or stay away from the conference.
A big question mark hangs over the future of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who was appointed earlier this year to replace Pravin Gordhan. Gigaba has widely been seen as a pawn of the Zupta faction in the ANC – aligned to Zuma and the Guptas. Yet, he recently has tried to stall Zuma’s attempts to forge a nuclear deal with Russia and also to provide free higher education for the poor.
Significantly Ramaphosa said in May that there needed to be an end to “capture, corruption and cronyism”. He told Business Live at the time that the policy conference – held in June – was the perfect time for the party to rejuvenate. “When the party emerges from that conference, it must be spic and span, ready for 2019.” That was six months ago.
With no commission into state capture appointed, Ramaphosa clearly bided his time for the elective conference, which started on Saturday, December the 16th.
Now is his time to act with vigour against corruption and cronyism, as he promised.
- Donwald Pressly is the editor of Cape Messenger.
ZA 10YR: Over the past 2 trading days SA’s 10-year bond yield has fallen by 43 bps, or 4.6%. pic.twitter.com/V9XiZuRGZ4
— Karin Richards (@Richards_Karin) December 18, 2017
Although we in a holiday season, South Africans are depressed, we need a leader to change the mood of the country, South Africa needs a “Cyril Moment” #ANC54
— Zizi Kodwa (@zizikodwa) December 18, 2017
— POWER987News (@POWER987News) December 18, 2017
It’s a boy
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) December 18, 2017