The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s only ruler since the end of apartheid, votes this weekend in a race too close to call to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader with the winner also likely to become the next president.
The election is perhaps the most pivotal moment for the ANC in its 23 years of power. Scandal and corruption allegations have tainted Zuma’s presidency and the party that launched black majority rule under Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela is now deeply divided, its image tarnished at home and abroad.
The ANC will announce Zuma’s successor on Sunday, concluding a bruising leadership battle that threatens to splinter the 105-year-old liberation movement.
The race has been dominated by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 65, generally favoured by financial markets, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, an ex-cabinet minister, chairwoman of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife.
Zuma, whose term as head of state expires in 2019, is backing Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him.
South Africa’s rand firmed more than two per cent after courts ruled senior officials in two provinces seen as supporting Dlamini-Zuma had been illegally elected and could not attend the conference.
Ramaphosa won a majority of the nominations to become leader of the party, but delegates at the Dec. 16-20 conference in Johannesburg are not bound to vote for the candidate their ANC branch nominated, meaning it is unclear if he will actually win.
The ANC’s National Executive Committee, a decision-making group of senior keaders, met before the conference began and decided that barred delegates could not vote at the conference.
‘We don’t want to contaminate the conference… They will not vote on any matter,’ ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe told reporters.
ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine, who backs Dlamini-Zuma, said 122 delegates would be prevented from voting at the conference following the ruling by the courts. ‘That is not significant,’ Maine told Reuters.
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Source: Daily Mail