South African President Jacob Zuma’s corruption-tainted rule faces a major challenge after his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa was elected to succeed him as the leader of the African National Congress on Monday. The leader of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, kept a straight face and did not clap after it was announced that Ramaphosa had won.
Ramaphosa, who has been vocal about the allegations of graft against his government, narrowly beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former minister and Zuma’s ex-wife, BBC reported. As the new party leader, he is likely to recall Zuma from presidency, much as Zuma himself recalled and replaced President Thabo Mbeki in 2008.
Ramaphosa got 2,440 votes, and Dlamini-Zuma 2,261.
The 65-year-old leader is one of South Africa’s richest people. He has promised to fight rampant corruption and to lift the economy. South Africa’s currency, the rand, surged 4% after he was voted the ANC leader.
Zuma sat “stony-faced” when Ramaphosa’s victory was announced, Reuters reported. He had reportedly backed his former wife.
Zuma has been accused, among other things, of using government money to build a luxurious private home, and also being influenced by the super-rich Gupta family. Under his rule, economic growth has slowed down and unemployment is near record levels. He continues to deny any wrongdoing.