Nelson Mandela’s former protégé has made a comeback and is, some analysts say, finally fulfilling his professional destiny. Cyril Ramaphosa beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the leadership race in ruling ANC party, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have full freedom in the run-up to the 2019 election.
The party is divided and a number of challenges lie ahead, according to political analyst, Khaya Sithole:
"What his biggest challenge will be is to, of course essentially undo what you might call, really, the public perception and the public deficit issues that have developed at least over the past five years - that is his immediate challenge. He's got eighteen months until the general election and this general election comes on the back of a lot of issues that are happening at government level that he's going to have to somehow try to tackle whilst he's also running the ANC," he said.
ANC’s popularity has faded since its victory in the country’s first free elections in 1994. It’s been plagued by corruption allegations and an economic crisis. But for business leaders, Ramaphosa represents hope… Yet he promises nothing revolutionary, as economist Jeffrey Schultz explained.
“If you look at Cyril Ramaphosa's new deal plan that he put forward in his campaign, it's very much based on the national development plan of the country. Economic policies that we already have in place, but unfortunately that the economy and politicians and ministers have not been able to implement adequately. So I think what we can I suppose hope under a Cyril Ramaphosa presidency is more implementation and getting things done.”
After losing out on the ANC leadership in 1999, the trade unionist became a successful businessman, before returning to politics some 13 years later. Now, some say he’s in his rightful position at the head of South Africa’s ruling party, but how long that remains the case could depend on the fight against corruption and his ability to turn around the economy.