Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma Vie to Lead South Africa's ANC

Updated on
  • Ruling party election results due to be announced on Monday
  • ANC risks losing majority, Secretary-General Matashe says

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, presidential candidate of the African National Congress party (ANC), left, reacts with Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's deputy president, during the 54th national conference of the African National Congress party (ANC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. 

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress completed the process of nominating new leaders on Sunday, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife and favored successor, confirmed as the sole contenders for the top job.

Ramaphosa was nominated by five provinces while the remaining four backed Dlamini-Zuma, the electoral agency overseeing the vote announced at the party’s national elective conference in Johannesburg. While five other officials declared their candidature, none of them received nomination from the conference floor.

David Mabuza, the premier of the eastern Mpumalanga province, and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will square off in the contest for the ANC deputy presidency, while Gwede Mantashe, the party’s outgoing secretary-general, will vie for the post of chairman. Senzo Mchunu, the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, and Ace Magashule, the premier of the central Free State region, were nominated for secretary-general.

The election results are expected to be announced on Monday. The contest has divided the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and South Africa’s bonds and deterred foreign investment.

The rand gained 1.3 percent to 12.9281 per dollar by 10:55 p.m. in Johannesburg, the strongest level on a closing basis since Sept. 7. Against the euro, it strengthened 1.4 percent to 15.1757.

In a report delivered to the conference, Mantashe said the ANC was riven by factionalism, showing serious signs of decline and in danger of the losing the electoral majority it’s held since white majority rule ended in 1994. He said the party failed to respond adequately to criticism of Zuma and allegations that private companies wielded undue influence over the state, a phenomenon known in South Africa as state capture.

“Rebuilding the reputation and image of the movement should be a priority,” Mantashe said. “The risk of losing power is real.”

— With assistance by Paul Vecchiatto, and Michael Cohen

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