SA: Who will lead ANC to 2019 election?

Updated Saturday 16 December 2017 11:5
SA: Who will lead ANC to 2019 election?
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are the two top candidates contesting for the race to lead South Africa’s scandal-weakened ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) and likely the country, as the rift between the candidates is well known that some of the supporters warn that the party of Nelson Mandela might part in two. Here’s a look at the contenders to lead the party toward the 2019 elections:

NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA

The former chair of the African Union Commission is also Zuma’s ex-wife, which brings concern from some South Africans who worry that she will act under the president’s influence and perhaps even shield him from possible prosecution.

The 68-year-old Dlamini-Zuma is a doctor and former South African minister of health and of foreign affairs, and was an activist during the ANC’s long fight against apartheid. She was the first female leader of the AU Commission is expected to have the support of the ruling party’s women’s league, which has been a fierce supporter of the president.

Dlamini-Zuma, who has a reputation for rarely engaging the media and staying conservative in her public statements, recently was appointed to a parliamentary seat. She has pledged to pursue her ex-husband’s favored policy of “radical economic transformation” to bring greater equity to an economy still largely controlled by South Africa’s white minority.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

One of South Africa’s richest businessmen, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa is a veteran of the struggle for liberation from the country’s former apartheid system of white minority rule and helped negotiate the transition to democracy. He turned his connections as a former union leader into business ventures that at times have proven controversial. Many South Africans remember that Ramaphosa was a board member of the Lonmin mine at the time of the Marikana massacre in 2012, when police shot dead 34 striking mine workers.

Now deputy president, Ramaphosa has added his voice to the rising frustration in the country over Zuma and numerous corruption allegations. Last week, he even told a local radio station that he “would believe” the young woman who accused Zuma of rape more than a decade ago, before he became president. Zuma was acquitted.

Despite being part of Zuma’s administration, Ramaphosa has styled himself as a reform candidate who would steer South Africa away from the corruption scandals that have hurt the economy and briefly sent it into recession this year.

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