South African ruling party, ANC set to choose another leader

Thousands of delegates from South Africa’s ruling ANC party will vote today( Sunday) to choose their next leader as this election is seen as a decisive moment in the country’s post-apartheid history.

The front-runners in the tight race are former minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife, and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman.

With public support for the ANC falling sharply, the party could face a struggle to retain its grip on power in the 2019 general election after ruling since Nelson Mandela won the first multi-racial elections in 1994.

Delegates could vote for the new leader as early as Sunday, with the five-day conference due to end on Wednesday.

President Zuma, whose reign has been marred by graft scandals, will step down as ANC chief at the meeting, but he will remain as head of state ahead of general elections in 2019.

He used his conference speech on Saturday to appeal for unity in a party riven by bitter factions under his rule.

He blamed the decline in the ANC’s popularity on “perceptions in society that we are soft on corruption, self-serving and arrogant”.

“Petty squabbling that takes us nowhere needs to take a back seat,” he said.

“Our people are frustrated when we spend more time fighting among ourselves instead of solving the daily challenges they experience.”

The ANC candidates had agreed “to abide by the outcome of the conference. I want each of them to bear that in mind,” he added.

Source: (AFP )