South Africa

South Africa, #ANCdecides2017

#ANCdecides2017: It is Cyril Ramaphosa

After a long, tense weekend and an excruciating wait through the counting process, Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victorious at the helm of the ANC. It was a tight contest between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the only two candidates left vying for the top spot. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.

Cyril Ramaphosa nabbed the ANC’s top spot on Monday night, securing 2,440 votes to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s 2,261.

In the other top positions are:

·        David Mabuza for Deputy President;

·        Ace Magashule for Secretary-General;

·        Paul Mashatile for Treasurer-General;

·        Gwede Mantashe for National Chair, and

·        Jessie Duarte for Deputy Secretary-General.

Ramaphosa’s win was good news for the Rand, which reached a three-month high as the ANC voted and was trading at R12,56 to the dollar by 18:55 on Monday. It had strengthened over the weekend and briefly dipped to over R13 to the dollar on Monday morning, following the delay in voting. Friday’s legal hurdles for the Dlamini Zuma camp had played a role in the initial gains.

A bombshell came in the form of Magashule, who may have been the most surprising win. Leading up to the vote, Mabuza, Ramaphosa, Mchunu and Mantashe had held a large chunk of their respective branch nominations, with Duarte putting up a strong defence of her position as Deputy Secretary General.

Ramaphosa received 1,469 branch nominations, versus 1,094 for Dlamini Zuma. Mabuza received 1,128 branch nominations, compared to Sisulu’s 619, while Mthethwa trailed behind Mantashe’s 1,499 with nods from 807 branch delegates. Mchunu went in with 1,479 votes from branch delegates, versus his opponent’s 930. Jessie Duarte had been ahead in defending her position as Deputy Secretary-General.

A tense atmosphere dominated both inside and outside Nasrec before the announcement was made. TV feeds were temporarily cut, reportedly due to a lack of clarity over whether a closed or open session was being broadcast.

An exception was Ramaphosa, who appeared relaxed and jovial for some time before the official announcement.

Around 17:00, it emerged that the first of three recounts had begun, which delayed the announcement by several hours. Reports surfaced that Ramaphosa was in the lead in all five positions barring deputy president, where his preferred candidate, Lindiwe Sisulu, was facing off against David Mabuza. It was also claimed that the Dlamini Zuma camp requested a recount for ANC president after she lost the vote, although Daily Maverick was unable to confirm this information independently.

Earlier in the day, outgoing ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party’s chief commitment had been to “protect the integrity of the [voting] process”. “Whatever the outcome, there must not be any suspicion,” he said.

He added a word of praise for outgoing Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, saying he would “always miss” him. “There will only be one Gwede Mantashe. I will always miss Gwede Mantashe. [But] someone else must come and bring their own personality,” he said.

Although Mantashe had slammed “dirty tricks” in the succession battle, at least some delegates expressed satisfaction with the voting process before results were released, telling media it had been free and fair and that they would stand united in their support of whoever won.

Delegates from both the Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma camps had appeared confident during the voting process that their chosen candidate was in the lead, with one – who supported Dlamini Zuma – telling the Times that “unity [would] be the winner”.

The results confirmed predictions made earlier in the day. EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema, asked on Twitter to predict a result on Monday evening, commented: “It’s a boy.”

Reactions on social media were mixed. Shortly before results were announced, EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu had bet on a Ramaphosa win but threw in a jibe at the ANC.

The time for real truth has arrived,” he said. “The Leader of the Official Opposition from 2019 onwards will be elected soon at the #ANCConference. It’s pretty obvious who will win though, and he must have the honour to serve in parliament even when the ANC doesn’t have +50%,” he Tweeted.

He later added: “Congratulations #CR17 for being elected #ANC54 President. It will however be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to become RSA President. The EFF is ready on the ground!”

Another Twitter user took a stab at controversial news channel ANN7, saying: “If ANN7 hasn’t leaked it, it’s bad.”

Yet another asked: “Why does a socialist party support a capitalist?”

It was a seemingly bitter-sweet moment for President Jacob Zuma, who had earlier bid farewell saying he had “done his best” as head of the ruling party. He took a moment to sing with the crowd as they waited for results.

He also took a pause in his exit speech – between condemnations of critics from various quarters – to say that “all of us will support the one chosen by the majority, finish and klaar”. DM

Photo: Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, photographed here at the elective conference at Nasrec on Sunday, 17 December 2017. Photo: Daily Maverick

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