Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

South Africa's new party leader: Graft must end

South Africa's new party leader: Graft must end

In his inaugural speech as leader Ramaphosa did not sidestep criticism of Zuma's eight years as president, though he used guarded language.

He says that both of the ruling party's former leaders, Ndabaningi Sithole and Mugabe, were forced out.

Ramaphosa will be the ANC's flag-bearer in the 2019 national election, but will have to contend with allies of his defeated rival, Dlamini-Zuma, in his leadership team.

Jacob Zuma, ANC leader and president of South Africa for the past eight years, has embodied numerous shortcomings of his party. In this year's party election, he campaigned on a promise to root out corruption within the ANC and improve the country's stagnated economy.Whereas Mr. Ramaphosa achieved his long-held ambitions of leading the ANC more than 20 years after Mandela wanted him to become his successor, the election showcased the ANC's internal divisions.

Ramaphosa who is the party's and country's deputy president had a tight contest with the former African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Nkosazan Dlamini-Zuma, for the ANC president position.

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Ramaphosa, was also set to make a few remarks to the assembled media after his walkabout, though he is still to make his first official address to the conference as ANC president. He's also been linked to members of the Gupta family, who are friends with Zuma and have been accused by the nation's graft ombudsman of exerting undue influence over Cabinet appointments and the awarding of state contracts. It excluded the names of all the people who were prevented from voting by the various court cases. The premier and ANC chairman in the eastern Mpumalanga province, Mabuza, 57, was a key power broker in the party election race and helped swing its presidency for Ramaphosa. They are now negotiating, while voting for the NEC is going ahead. Campaigning more or less openly against the corruption and misgovernment of the Zuma years, he ought to move swiftly to prosecute Mr Zuma on at least some of the hundreds of charges of corruption that have been laid against him (though he has not been charged with any, and denies them all). "We can not afford to have ANC going down", Zulu said. If he fails to deliver - whatever the reasons - the ANC is nearly certain to be rejected by voters in 2019.

Thirdly, he has to act decisively against corruption. This made him one of the most influential leaders in South Africa. "It will have an egalitarian vocabulary but will be fundamentally capitalist".

The question often asked in South Africa now is what Mr Ramaphosa will do with Mr Zuma. Mr. Ramaphosa's rival, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma had campaigned on a promise to increase black ownership of businesses.As a successful businessman, Mr. Ramaphosa is widely seen as a hope to revive the economy and restore market confidence in South Africa, but structural problems could make meaningful reforms more hard, observers say. Nonetheless, the party's popularity has been sliding, thanks to the incompetence and corruption that South Africans see in their government. The latter's supporters broke out in cheers and singing.

But in the election of NEC members Wednesday, three posts went to Dlamini-Zuma loyalists - seen as favourable to Zuma himself - and three to Ramaphosa's camp, including the party leader himself. Mr. Zuma's term runs out in 2019, when Mr. Ramaphosa is the party's almost-certain presidential candidate. "Recalling Mr. Zuma, she adds, "would take the wind out of the opposition parties" sails".

Ramaphosa also had a warning for corporate executives. Mr. Zuma, nicknamed the "teflon president' for his ability to stay in power despite various scandals, is a veteran politician who has survived previous motions of no-confidence.As TWW went to press, it remained unclear what exact steps Mr. Ramaphosa would take".

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