Ramaphosa re-elected as leader of South Africa’s ruling party

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South Africa’s ruling ANC party, on Monday, re-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa as its leader for a second five-year term.

Ramaphosa garnered 2,476 votes for the post of party president against 1,897 for former health minister Zweli Mkhize, the African National Congress’ elections chief, Kgalema Motlanthe, announced.

Ramaphosa’s re-election opens the way to a second term as South Africa’s President, as the ANC have an absolute majority in parliament, which selects the head of state.

More than 4,300 delegates, gathered at a conference near Johannesburg, cast their ballots on Sunday to appoint top officials, including party president, deputy president, chair and Secretary General.

The party’s former treasurer, Paul Mashatile, emerged as the deputy president.

70-year-old Ramaphosa won the contest despite being mired in accusations that he concealed the burglary of a huge amount of cash at his upmarket cattle farm.

As the nation’s vice president, he ascended to the ANC’s top job in December 2017 as his boss Jacob Zuma battled a mounting corruption scandal.

The following February, Zuma was forced out by the ANC.

Ramaphosa took office vowing to be weed out endemic corruption and renew the party.But his clean-hands image has been dented by the burglary scandal.

The affair has raised questions as to why he was in the possession of so much cash, and why he failed to report the theft to the authorities.

He won a reprieve ahead of the conference when the ANC used its majority in parliament to block a possible impeachment inquiry.

His rival Mkhize hails from the same region as Zuma, the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province which has the largest number of party delegates.

As health minister, the 66-year-old doctor was lauded for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

But his tenure ended abruptly when he resigned amid allegations his son and associates benefited from a 150-million-rand ($10.4 million) contract for a Covid awareness campaign. He denies any wrongdoing.

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