February 4, 2023

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The ANC elects its next leader, Ramaphosa

The ANC, which has chosen heads of state in South Africa since the end of apartheid, voted on Sunday to choose its next leader at its congress near Johannesburg, with incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa on track for a second term.

African National Congress (ANC) Mr. Confidence in Ramaphosa, 70, should be renewed after the discovery of dollars hidden in a sofa in one of his luxury properties in recent months.

The hugely popular president narrowly escaped an impeachment vote in parliament on Tuesday, with the majority ANC building an organization around him that required elected officials to protect him.

Even his staunchest opponents at the congress, which gathered at the convention center since Friday, recognize it: “Ramaphosa will win, we know”, estimates AFP Tami Chamane, 30.

Elected from KwaZulu-Natal (South-East) province, the official has the largest delegation, with the president’s only challenger being his former minister of health, Zweli Mkaise, 66, and Zulu culture, who was ousted in August 2021. Due to corruption allegations.

Lauded for his action against Covid, he was embroiled in a case of defrauding millions of euros within the framework of an irregular deal with a communications company responsible for an awareness campaign against the pandemic. According to the investigators, the money was transferred to Mr. It would have benefited Mkhize’s two cousins, her and her son.

-“Cyril” Heald-

But on Saturday evening, Mr. Two South African provinces taken over by Ramaphosa went into the Mkhize camp, reducing the president’s large lead.

This is Mr. That poses a “significant risk” to Ramaphosa, Pearl Mncube, a political scientist at Frontline Africa Advisory, tells AFP. “Ramaphosa has a comfortable lead with Mkhize behind him and the games are not made,” he said.

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About 4,500 delegates have been called to vote on Sunday for the ANC’s seven top posts. The profile of the next vice president is also eagerly awaited, the post traditionally serving as a launching pad for future presidents.

The Constitution predicts that Ramaphosa will be replaced, at least initially, by the latter if he is caught in the Fala Fala scandal — named after his property whose theft revealed embarrassing bundles in 2020.

For now, Derek Hanekom, a member of the ANC’s all-powerful national executive committee, reminded AFP that he was calling for Ramaphosa to step down over the controversy, not to charge him. , makes no sense: “We never did that in the ANC”.

Recent polls show that “Cyril” is admired by South Africans, more than a historical party, divided by rival factions and a failure on the back of ten years of unemployment and headwinds. Inequality, crime and the energy crisis.

Ahead of the 2024 general election, the ANC lacks a credible replacement for Cyril Ramaphosa, who remains its best asset, many analysts note.

But factional tensions are evident in Congress, where calls for order and calm have multiplied. On Friday evening Mr. During Ramaphosa’s speech, dozens of delegates interrupted him, chanting, banging on tables and miming a pinwheel with their hands to call for change.

Her supporters opposed Nelson Mandela with a raised index and middle finger as they demanded a second term for their beloved woman, once described as the most talented of her generation.