The leader of the African National Congress party, Cyril Ramaphosa, faces the steep challenges of unifying the party and reviving South Africa’s flagging economy as he was elected as the new president of the country on Thursday.
Cyril Ramaphosa is a wealthy businessman who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform to be the leader of the ANC in December of 2017. He took over the reign from Jacob Zuma. As ANC leader, Ramaphosa is in a favored position to win the election as the country’s next president in 2019.
Ramaphosa’s rise to power started off when he became the first secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers. He helped build the NUM into the largest trade union in the country, serving as its secretary general for just over 10 years.
it is important for Ramaphosa to to make sure that he has a definitive policy agenda that deals with nervousness in the markets and establishes confidence in the national economy.
Ramaphosa went on to play a key role during South Africa’s transition, becoming one of the key architects of the country’s constitutional democracy. In 1994 Ramaphosa lost the contest to become President Nelson Mandela’s deputy.
He then went into business. But he made his major comeback onto the political scene at the ANC’s 2012 elective conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, where he was elected deputy president of the ANC, and later of the country.
After being elected as ANC president in December 2017, Ramaphosa has been traveling around the country trying to reignite the organization. He is well aware that there’s expectations in the country for him to fix the economy and resuscitate the nation-building project.
“What is important for Ramaphosa is to restore confidence in the country. To make sure that there is political certainty, which obviously comes from the fact of him taking over power from Zuma. I am very sure that investors and the markets are actually worried about the short term to medium term politics in South Africa. So it is important for Ramaphosa to assume power, and immediately when assuming power, to make sure that he has a definitive policy agenda that deals with nervousness in the markets and establishes confidence in the national economy,“said Gideon Chitanga, a South African political analyst.
Ramaphosa is expected to set the direction for the ANC, and probably South Africa, for years to come.