politics

Who’s Who in the New Leadership of South Africa’s ANC

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress named its new leadership on Monday following one of the most hotly contested elections in the 105-year-old party’s history.

Here’s an overview of the party’s top six officials:

From left: Jessie Duarte, Ace Magashule, Gwede Mantashe, Cyril Ramaphosa, David Mabuza and Paul Mashatile on Dec. 18.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

President: Cyril Ramaphosa

The 65-year-old deputy president secured the top party post after pledging to revive the economy and tackle corruption. A lawyer who co-founded the National Union of Mineworkers, Ramaphosa helped negotiate a peaceful end to apartheid and draft South Africa’s first democratic constitution. He lost out to Thabo Mbeki in the contest to succeed Nelson Mandela as president in 1999 and went into business, amassing a fortune before returning to full-time politics in 2012 as the ANC’s deputy leader. 

Ramaphosa was accused of enticing police action against striking workers before 34 people were shot dead at the Marikana platinum mine his company partly owned. A judicial inquiry cleared him of wrongdoing. President Jacob Zuma named him as his deputy in 2014.

Deputy President: David Mabuza

The premier and ANC chairman in the eastern Mpumalanga province, Mabuza, 57, was a key power broker in the party election race and helped swing its presidency for Ramaphosa. A former schoolteacher, he’s been one of Zuma’s staunchest allies and defended him through a succession of scandals. Mabuza has had a checkered political career himself -- he’s been accused of helping to rig state tenders and having his opponents silenced. He denies wrongdoing.

Chairman: Gwede Mantashe

The ANC’s secretary-general for the past decade, Mantashe, 62, started his career as a miner. He joined the National Union of Mineworkers and rose through its ranks to become its secretary-general. He also became a member of the South African Communist Party, which is part of the nation’s ruling alliance, and served as its chairman until 2012. He’s close to Ramaphosa but has had a patchy relationship with Zuma and criticized his decision to fire the respected Pravin Gordhan as his finance minister in March without consulting the party’s other leaders.

Secretary-General: Ace Magashule

The premier of the central Free State province since 2009, Magashule, 58, is another of Zuma’s closest allies and helped defend him against calls to resign. He backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s ex-wife, in the contest for the ANC presidency. Magashule came under fire from opposition parties in 2015 after his administration spent 8 million rand ($627,392) of taxpayer money on upgrading his official residence, and has been accused of using his political clout to influence the awarding of state tenders. He’s also been linked to members of the Gupta family, who are friends with Zuma and have been accused by the nation’s graft ombudsman of exerting undue influence over cabinet appointments and the awarding of state contracts. He denies wrongdoing.

Deputy Secretary-General: Jessie Duarte

A former assistant to Mandela, Duarte, 64, retained the post she’s held for the past five years. She previously served in the cabinet in the central Gauteng province, as South Africa’s ambassador to Mozambique and as the ANC’s spokeswoman. She also backed Dlamini-Zuma in the ANC presidency race.

Treasurer-General: Paul Mashatile

Mashatile, 56, is chairman of the ANC in the central Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. He was the region’s premier from October 2008 to May 2009, and now serves on its executive council and oversees housing and co-operative government. He’s previously been arts and culture minister.

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