Rabat – Finally fulfilling his political destiny, South African vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected December 18 at the head of the African National Congress (ANC), South-Africa’s ruling party since 1994. Ramaphosa succeeds to Jacob Zuma, the highly contested South-African leader.
Anti-apartheid hero and business tycoon, Ramaphosa won a fierce and tight race with Zuma’s ex wife and former head of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. He won at 52 percent, with a margin of 179 ballots against Zuma.
After 20 years as the nearly-man of South-African politics, the victory of Nelson Mandela’s protege was welcomed by a thunder of acclamations from his supporters and the whistles of his opponent, exposing the stark divisions in the party.
Ramaphosa’s victory also puts him in pole position to take the presidency of South Africa during the general elections of 2019. Supported by the moderate wing of the party, and much appreciated by the working unions, Ramaphosa campaigned against the corruption of the Zuma clan.
Ramaphosa has benefited from the support of the powerful trade union center of Cosatu and the business community. Prior to the Nasrec conference, Ramaphosa had won the support of the majority of ANC branches across South Africa.
Former trade unionist converted into a wealthy businessman, Ramaphosa promised to implement what he called a “new deal,” a 10-point plan to bring South Africa out of its economic crisis by reducing social disparities.
His economic speech is echoed by South Africans, frustrated by the ANC’s failure to translate into reality its promises of a more prosperous and equitable South Africa. The country has been suffering for several months from an alarming economic slump. A growth rate of almost 0.7 percent is expected for this year.
This is a rate that does not serve the interests of a country that suffers from the burden of unemployment affecting 27.7 percent of the labor force and poverty affecting more than half of this nation, about 56 million souls.