South Africa’s governing ANC to announce new leader on Sunday

FILE PHOTO: African National Congress suppoters chant slogans during ANC president Jacob Zuma's election campaign in Atteridgeville a township located to the west of Pretoria, South Africa July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
FILE PHOTO: African National Congress supporters chant slogans during ANC president Jacob Zuma’s election campaign in Atteridgeville a township located to the west of Pretoria, South Africa July 5, 2016. REUTERS

A new leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will be announced on Sunday to replace President Jacob Zuma party spokesman Zizi Kodwa has said.

According to Kodwa “on Sunday morning as we arrive we should be able to make an announcement of the top six and take nomination of the rest of the leadership. We need to take out this item from the conference agenda as quickly as possible.”

The winner of the ANC election will be favourite to become president of the country after a 2019 national election.

President Zuma is ineligible to stand for a third term.

In a race seen as too close to call, seven candidates are seeking to succeed Zuma, who has been at the helm of the party for a decade.

Front runners

The main ANC leadership hopefuls are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Zuma’s preferred candidate, his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA

African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attends the launch ceremony of the African Union support to Ebola outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) in Lagos December 3, 2014. REUTERS

Dlamini-Zuma is a former minister and chairwoman of the African Union Commission. She has served in the cabinets of every South African president in the post-apartheid era.

Dlamini-Zuma was married to President Zuma for over a decade and has four children with him.

She is backed by the ANC’s influential women’s and youth leagues, as well as by Zuma and provincial party leaders close to him.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

FILE PHOTO: South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa greets security personnel at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa, May 5, 2017. REUTERS

Ramaphosa is the deputy president and former trade union leader.

He played an important role in the negotiations to end apartheid and in the drafting of South Africa’s progressive 1996 constitution.

The deputy president is supported by a diverse group of labour unions, communists and ANC members disillusioned with Zuma.

ZWELI MKHIZE

Dr Zweli Mkhize, one of the ANC’s “top six” leaders, gestures as he speaks to Reuters in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 6, 2017. REUTERS

Mkhize is the party’s treasurer general, and one of the ruling party’s “top six” senior leaders.

Some analysts see Mkhize as a compromise candidate for ANC leader who could reconcile the opposing factions supporting Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa.

LINDIWE SISULU

Lindiwe Sisulu is sworn in as the defence minister at the presidential guest house in Pretoria, in this file May 11,2009 photo. REUTERS

Sisulu is the human settlements minister. She is the daughter of anti-apartheid activist Walter Sisulu, a close friend of Nelson Mandela.

Party crisis

The ANC executive has been the scene of fierce factional battles in the last 18 months as Zuma’s leadership came under scrutiny, particularly after the most recent cabinet reshuffle in March.

In August, Zuma narrowly survived an umpteenth attempt in parliament to force him from office after some members of his party voted with the opposition.

Zuma said last week he was “very happy” to be stepping down as ANC president. He can remain as head of state until 2019.