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Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Zuma as South African leader

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has elected Cyril Ramaphosa as president to replace the outgoing Jacob Zuma.

The country’s deputy leader beat Mr Zuma’s ex wife and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and will now likely be made the country’s head of state.

Ramaphosa, 65, will be the ANC’s candidate for president in the 2019 elections. He defeated Ms Dlamini-Zuma by 2,440 to 2,261 votes in a bitter political campaign which threatened to tear the party apart.

There had been reports earlier that an announcement of Ramaphosa’s victory was delayed after Dlamini-Zuma’s camp ordered a recount.

Deputy president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa  (right) greets an ANC member during the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC)

Outgoing leader Jacob Zuma is in his second and final term as party leader, which has been ridden with scandal and has seen the party of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement plummet in popularity among South Africans. 

Ramaphosa has promoted himself as a reformer, despite being a key part of Zuma’s administration, and has promised to steer South Africa away from the corruption scandals which have blighted it in the past. 

A veteran in the battle to help end apartheid, which saw the country ruled by the white minority, Ramaphosa is now one of the country’s most successful businessmen and has been duly supported by the business community.

His rival Dlamini-Zuma had criticised the influence which white-owned businesses had been able to exert and promised to tackle what she perceived as continued racial inequality. 

Outgoing ANC President Jacob Zuma attends a 'walkabout' with business leaders

Outgoing ANC President Jacob Zuma attends a ‘walkabout’ with business leaders