South African President Cyril Ramaphosa won a battle for the leadership of his African National Congress party (ANC) on Monday, beating his only rival by a large margin.
Re-elected as leader of the ruling party by more than 4,000 ANC delegates at a party congress in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa is now in position to contest a second term as South Africa’s president at national elections in 2024.
The former trade unionist and multimillionaire politician, once a favorite of former President Nelson Mandela, beat Zweli Mkhize — a former health minister who was forced to resign after corruption allegations surrounding misuse of COVID-19 funds.
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe announced the results of the ballot to a packed hall as delegates erupted in cheers and ululations.
“For comrade Mkhize, Zwelini, his total is 1,897, and for comrade Ramaphosa, Cyril, his total is 2,476,” said Motlanthe.
Ramaphosa’s victory comes in the wake of a scandal surrounding the theft of a large amount of money hidden in a sofa at his private game farm. The president, a keen prize buffalo breeder, says the money came from the sale of animals and denied any wrongdoing.
The opposition called for him to be impeached, but proceedings never got off the ground after the ANC rallied behind him in a parliamentary vote earlier this month.
Despite that, the ANC remains split between Ramaphosa supporters and followers of former President Jacob Zuma, who was forced to resign in 2018 and is now on trial for corruption.
Ramaphosa took office promising to clean up the government, but his image has been somewhat tarnished by the recent scandal, dubbed “farmgate.”
Once widely beloved by Black South Africans as the party that fought apartheid and won them liberation, the ANC has lost popularity in recent years due to corruption scandals, high unemployment and poor infrastructure.
Source: Voice of America