Newswire : Cyril Ramaphosa picked as new African National Congress leader


( – After a bruising battle for votes within the governing African National Congress, billionaire tycoon Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa edged out his rival in the final minutes of the ANC’s 54th national elective conference in Johannesburg, opening the prospect of his winning the presidency in 2019.
Ramaphosa, 64, won in a squeaker against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, one-time minister, doctor, and former chair of the African Union Commission who campaigned on a platform of youth development and “radical economic transformation” aimed at transferring more wealth to the black majority. In the final days before the vote, President Zuma also added his pledge to make higher education free for all South Africans.
There were 2,440 votes for the business-friendly Ramaphosa to Dlamini-Zuma’s 2,261, indicating not only the closeness of the race but also the deep divisions within the party after 10 years under President Jacob Zuma.
Ramaphosa was briefly Nelson Mandela’s choice for deputy president but overlooked in favor of Thabo Mbeki, he left politics in 1997 to devote himself full time to business. In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $450-million.
Ramaphosa’s victory this week thrilled the business sector who heard his reassuring call for “partnership” and “improved investor confidence.” The rand soared to its highest level against major currencies in months as news broke of Ramaphosa’s election.
A former labor leader, he must now renew his negotiating skills to win back the party’s main constituency which has grown increasingly skeptical of the promises of racial and economic equality that swept the party into power in 1994.
Mr. Ramaphosa’s election deals a blow to the 75-year-old Mr. Zuma, who is battling the reinstatement of charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering linked to a 1999 arms deal that were dropped before he was elected president in 2009.
Last week, a court ordered the creation of a commission of inquiry into separate allegations that the president allowed one of the country’s most prominent business families to hold undue sway over his government and steal hundreds of millions of dollars from state-owned enterprises.
Mr. Zuma and the prominent Gupta family have denied wrongdoing.
Finally, claims of alleged extramarital affairs with eight women have brought Ramaphosa supporters to his defense. Faisal Suleman of the South African Muslim Network called the behavior “a human frailty” that “Cyril is working on with his wife.” Dr. Thamsanqa Ngcana, a bishop with the Council of African Independent Churches said they did not condone immorality but “These things happen to the best of us. There is forgiveness and we pray for Cyril. No doubt God will forgive him.”

Newswire : African National Congress to choose successor to incumbent Jacob Zuma

N Diamini-Zuma and C. Ramaphosajpg
N. Dlamini-Zuma and C. Ramaphosa

Dec. 11, 2017 (GIN) – The 54th National Conference of the African National Congress will be held this week from the 16th to the 20th to choose a successor to incumbent ANC President and President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.

The conference is a precursor to the South African general election in 2019 which is considered to be one of the most important general elections in post-apartheid South Africa.

Of the seven hopefuls, the match for party leader is likely to be between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former labor leader turned tycoon, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former chair of the Africa Union, former Health Minister and ex-wife of President Zuma.

The two are running neck and neck.

Dlamini-Zuma was regarded as a capable technocrat during her time as South Africa’s minister of home affairs between 2009 and 2012 and has since gained international exposure during her time as the first female head of the AU.

Critics of Dlamini-Zuma, a medical doctor trained in South Africa and Britain, say she should have done more to intervene when former president Thabo Mbeki denied that HIV causes AIDs and imposed anti-scientific policies.

Her policy concerns include radical economic transformation, youth development, the oppression of women and a united ANC.

Ramaphosa, once seen as a successor to Nelson Mandela, would be the first choice for many investors because his background in commerce suggests he will support more pro-business policies than many in the traditionally left-wing ANC.

However, he will face criticism from opponents for his role at platinum producer Lonmin where he was a director and shareholder when violence led to police shooting dead 34 striking miners in 2012. An investigation has cleared him of wrongdoing.

Gender Based Violence has also become a hot button issue. A member of the Women’s League recently warned Mr. Ramaphosa: “If you want to speak out about violence against women and children, talk about yourself. You must open up because you say you know how difficult it is for a woman to take a stand.”

Ramaphosa has been linked to a string of affairs with younger women, which he denies. He admitted to one former affair.

Dlamini Zuma called for a peaceful conference with vibrant debate. “We won’t be rude and we don’t expect anyone to be rude. We must interact with respect,” she said. “It’s a democratic process, it’s not a fight against anybody.”

Newswire : N. Diamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa are contesting for the Presidency of South Africa

N.Dlamini-Zuma and C. Ramaphosa

( – With President Jacob Zuma winding up his last term in office, his ex-wife is building up campaign momentum, especially among women. She’s one of two leading candidates for the top job.
An early anti-apartheid activist, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was an active underground member of the South African Students’ Organization and was elected its deputy president in 1976.
Later, as a doctor in Swaziland, she met her future husband, current ANC party president Jacob Zuma. Several cabinet positions followed – as Minister of Health, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs. In 2012, she was elected chair of the African Union Commission, serving until January 2017.
But her accomplishments underperformed, according to some political observers, and in a few cases were serious missteps. During the early years of the AIDS crisis, Dlamini-Zuma along with President Thabo Mbeki endorsed Virodene, a controversial AIDS drug developed in South Africa but rejected by the scientific community. It was later learned that the main active ingredient was an industrial solvent and that businessmen with ties to Mbeki had invested in it.
More recently, she was chastised for labelling nationwide protests calling for President Zuma to step down as “rubbish” in a tweet which was then deleted from her timeline.
Her colleagues at the African Union considered her remote, disinterested and often absent from duty.
Even though there are other women aspiring to the number one spot, Dlamini-Zuma has become the face of the ANC Women’s League’s call that “South Africa is ready for a woman president.”
While she generally avoids the media and spends little time shaking hands, her stump speeches are turning heads with their focus on “Radical Economic Transformation,” – why white people shouldn’t fear it, and why it is necessary to change ownership patterns.
She faces a tough fight, however, from ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa who has already racked up nominations from branches in Gauteng, Pretoria, and the West Rand. A successful businessman and trade union leader, he was the ANC’s chief negotiator during the country’s transition to democracy.
He has an estimated net worth of over $450 million and owns 31 properties. mParticularly disappointing, he opposed the Marikana miners’ strike, which he called “dastardly criminal” conduct, while he served on the board of Lonmin, the miners’ employer.
Voting for ANC party president takes place in December. National elections are in 2019.