Billionaire waits in wings as ANC re-elects Jacob Zuma as its leader

Apartheid-era hero Cyril Ramaphosa returns to frontline politics as deputy leader

Jacob Zuma was re-elected as leader of the African National Congress yesterday but his comfortable victory has done little to conceal bitter divisions in South Africa's ruling party.

The singing and dancing Mr Zuma saw off the challenge of his national deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, taking three-quarters of delegates' votes at the party conference. The win effectively confirms him as president for another term after 2014, thanks to the ANC's stranglehold on national politics, but will not dampen accusations of corruption and ineffectual leadership.

The vote also confirmed the return of Cyril Ramaphosa – an ANC hero from the apartheid struggle who quit politics to make a fortune in business – to frontline politics as the party's deputy leader.

Mr Zuma turned to South Africa's richest man in a bid to reassure investors that his rocky handling of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest economy will improve. Some observers question whether the new deputy will do much to reassure unemployed black citizens that the party still cares about them.

"I do not think electing a billionaire as the deputy president sends the correct message about the commitment to fight inequality," said Adam Habib, professor of politics at Witwatersrand University.

Attention will now turn to expelled ANC youth league leader Julius Malema, a central figure five years ago when Mr Zuma toppled Thabo Mbeki, who waits to learn whether his bid for reacceptance has worked.

Mr Ramaphosa is popular with the ANC's intellectual and pro-business wings but his appointment may anger left-wingers who favour nationalising South Africa's mining industry.

Mr Malema has managed to maintain a national profile since his expulsion from the party by repeatedly calling for the state to take over mines.

Mr Ramaphosa, who will now be favourite to lead the country in 2018 after Mr Zuma's second term, came to prominence in the labour movement but is now part of the business elite. The former head of the national union of mineworkers is on the board of mining giant Lonmin, the owners of the Marikana mine where 34 workers were killed by police earlier this year. Not only did he fail to speak out about workers' rights during the massacre, he had called for police intervention against strikers.

The businessman, whose interests include running McDonald's in South Africa, was among the favourites to succeed Nelson Mandela when he stood down in 1998. However, Mr Mbeki was preferred and Mr Ramaphosa stepped out of the political limelight to concentrate on his business interests.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate