South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa faces wide-
ranging challenges after being elected to lead South Africa’s ruling party as it grapples with corruption allegations and disunity.
He narrowly won the vote on Monday to become head of the African National Congress (ANC) after a bruising race that exposed rifts within the organization that led the fight against apartheid.
Thousands of Ramaphosa supporters sang and chanted in the conference hall, as rival backers of defeated candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma appeared dejected.
The victory puts Ramaphosa in line to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma, whose reign has been plagued by corruption scandals, a slowing economy and anger at the once-omnipotent ANC.
Zuma, who faces prosecution for alleged fraud, is predicted to step down as president next year after ruling since 2009.
“He is unlikely to hold out until the end of his term ... as this will damage the party ahead of the 2019 election,” political risk consultancy Eurasia said.
“Zuma is thus likely to end his tenure sometime in the second half of 2018,” it said.
Ramaphosa is set to enjoy a brief honeymoon period — the rand rose 4 percent against the US dollar, suggesting investor confidence in the wealthy former businessman, before pairing gains.
However, he still faces unenviable challenges on public sector cuts to control the ballooning budget and how to battle Zuma-era corruption.
Political analyst Richard Calland warned that Ramaphosa would be constrained by allies of Zuma who were also elected into top ANC positions on Monday’s vote.
“The winner has inherited a mixed blessing, possibly a poisoned chalice,” Calland said.
“It’s going to be very difficult for him to maneuver; he’ll have to reach compromise at every step,” he said.
A vast image of the ANC’s new leader was unfurled as long applause and loud singing greeted the election result at the party conference venue outside Johannesburg.
Outside the hall, ANC supporters blocked a road leading to the conference center, dancing and singing party songs.
Ramaphosa is due to make his first speech as leader today as the conference draws to a close.
Zuma was seen as backing the campaign of Dlamini-Zuma, his former wife, allegedly to try to secure protection from prosecution after he leaves office.
The ANC, which has ruled since 1994 when Nelson Mandela won the first multiracial vote, could struggle to retain its grip on power in the 2019 election due to falling public support.
“I hope you will cooperate with the new leadership ... as we move to the 2019 elections,” outgoing ANC Chairwoman Baleka Mbete told nearly 5,000 delegates who voted for the new ANC leadership.
Ramaphosa, 65, is a former trade unionist leader who led talks to end white-minority rule in the early 1990s and then became a multimillionaire businessman before returning to politics.
He is often accused of failing to confront Zuma while serving as his deputy since 2014.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s