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NUM backs Ramaphosa as next ANC president

Sep 26 2016 18:22
Tshepiso Mokhema

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it will back Cyril Ramaphosa to be president of the ANC after Jacob Zuma.

"This is not only based on the tradition of the ANC, but also on the suitability of the candidate,” NUM general secretary David Sipunzi told reporters in Johannesburg Monday. “Zuma must serve his term.” Ramaphosa (63) co-founded the NUM in the 1980s.

Zuma (74) is scheduled to depart as the ANC’s leader in 2017 and as SA’s president in 2019. The contest to replace Zuma is intensifying as calls mount from ANC veterans, civil-rights groups and church officials for him to quit or be fired after he was implicated in a series of scandals. SA’s next leader will probably come from the ANC since it has won every parliamentary vote since the end of apartheid 22 years ago by more than 60%.

SA’s top court in March found that Zuma violated the constitution by failing to repay taxpayer funds spent on his private home. Critics accuse him of allowing the Gupta family, who are his friends and in business with his son, to use their connections for financial gain. Both Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

Ramaphosa, a lawyer, helped to negotiate a peaceful end to apartheid and draft South Africa’s first democratic constitution. He lost out to Thabo Mbeki in the contest to succeed Nelson Mandela as president in 1999 and went into business, amassing a fortune before returning to full-time politics in 2012 when he became ANC deputy president.

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