Editorials 19.12.2017 07:49 am

New hope with Cyril at the helm

ANC delegates dance outside the ANC's 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, on 17  December 2017. The ANC gathers to elect new leadership, including a new party president for which Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the candidates. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

ANC delegates dance outside the ANC's 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, on 17 December 2017. The ANC gathers to elect new leadership, including a new party president for which Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the candidates. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Cyril Ramaphosa is the new ANC president and will lead the ruling party for the next five years.

After a tense build-up in the months leading to the 54th national ANC conference, deputy president Ramaphosa replaced President Jacob Zuma as the party’s leader.

Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were the only candidates nominated for the ANC leadership at the weekend.

Ramaphosa received 2 446 votes, and Dlamini-Zuma 2 261. Markets yesterday reacted positively to the decision, with the rand firming to a nine-month high. But the decision wasn’t without drama with delays due to disputes over which delegates were qualified to vote and hundreds of attendees banned from having their say by way of the ballot.

Then, at last night’s announcement, it was delayed for hours after a recount. The other leadership positions sees David Mabuza become the deputy president, former secretary-general Gwede Mantashe the new national chair, Ace Magashule assumes the role of secretary-general, Jessie Duarte the deputy secretary-general and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer-general.

So now what for Ramaphosa? While he is likely to become the president of South Africa after the 2019 elections, it is not clear cut, as pointed out by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu last night when he said: “It will, however, be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to become SA president,” in congratulating Ramaphosa.

The government has been rocked by allegations of state capture under President Jacob Zuma, there’s no plan to curb the high unemployment rate and the currency is ailing with South Africa suffering numerous downgrades in recent times. Many believe Ramaphosa is the person to rectify this. Only time will tell if this is the dawn of a new era, or more of the same for the ANC – and ultimately South Africa.

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