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ANC elects new leader after a bruising battle

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ANC elects new leader after a bruising battle

Cyril Ramaphosa elected as ANC leader
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  • Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected leader of the African National Congress
  • As ANC leader, Ramaphosa is likely to become the country's next president after elections in 2019
  • A pivotal moment for the party?
  • News is welcomed by investors

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected leader of the African National Congress.

The close-run vote will set the direction for the country and the scandal-plagued party that has govern since the end of apartheid.

ANC announces Ramaphosa\'s election

The details

Ramaphosa narrowly beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former cabinet minister and President Jacob Zuma's ex-wife, in Monday's vote.

He smiled and hugged other party officials as the results were read out. Zuma sat stoney-faced as Ramaphosa's victory was announced.

A stoney-faced Jacob Zuma hears the result

What does this mean?

As ANC leader, Ramaphosa is likely to become the country's next president after elections in 2019.

The 65-year-old union leader, who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa's richest people, has promised to fight rampant corruption and revitalise the economy.

His message has been welcomed by foreign investors.

How is the South African economy doing?

Not well.

Political instability, including the questions over who would replace Zuma, has been cited by credit rating agencies as a big factor behind their decision to cut South Africa to "junk" status.

Economic growth in Africa's traditional powerhouse has been lethargic over the last six years. The jobless rate stands at near record levels.

The rand rose to a nine-month high as the market got wind of a Ramaphosa victory.

Government bonds also closed firme before the announcement that Ramaphosa has won the race.

How will Ramaphosa fix South Africa\'s economy?

What does this mean for the ANC?

It marks a pivotal moment for the party, which launched black-majority rule under Mandela's leadership 23 years ago.

Jacob Zuma's presidency, tainted by corruption and scandal, has badly tarnished the ANC's image both at home and abroad.

The party once led by Nelson Mandela is now deeply divided.

Analysts say the bitterness of the power struggle between Ramaphos and Dlamini-Zuma has increased the chances that the party will find it hard to set policy and could possibly split before the 2019 national election.

What about Jacob Zuma?

Zuma has faced allegations of corruption since he became head of state in 2009.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

The president has also faced allegations that his friends, the wealthy Gupta businessmen, wielded undue influence over his government would be investigated.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied the accusations.

The 75-year-old president has survived several votes of no-confidence in parliament over his performance as head of state.

What they are saying

"Ramaphosa cannot save South Africa, only the voters can in 2019," - opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, referring to the upcoming national elections.

"Ramaphosa was seen as the more investor-friendly of the two main candidates vying to lead the ruling party," - Capital Economics Africa economist John Ashbourne.

"Both sides will continue to vie for ascendancy within the ANC," - independent political analyst Daniel Silke.