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South Africa Has a New Contender for the Upcoming Presidential Elections— Jacob Zuma’s Ex-Wife

nkosazana-cover-croppedThe race for South Africa’s top job is heating up. Seventeen months into his job as deputy president, it was assumed that Cyril Ramaphosa—a former trade unionist, also one of South Africa’s richest men—would easily slide into the top job in 2019 when president Jacob Zuma steps down.

Ramaphosa, who made a return into politics in 2012 after a 10-year sojourn, has always had presidential ambitions. In 1997, Ramaphosa was considered as a favoured successor for the presidency by Mandela, but this plan was thwarted by a skilful Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president, who out maneuvered Ramaphosa in African National Congress’ (ANC) internal politics, eventually becoming president.

Last week, South Africa’s Mail and Guardian reported (paywall) Ramaphosa has finally decided to throw his hat in the ring to contest for ANC president in 2017—a stepping stone for him to become South Africa’s president in 2019.

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Despite cementing his standing as South Africa’s “fixer” and diplomat-in-chief in Jacob Zuma’s presidency, Ramaphosa now faces another hurdle that may thwart his chances of emerging as president in 2019: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current African Union (AU) chair and ex-wife of president Jacob Zuma.

Despite cementing his standing as South Africa’s “fixer” and diplomat-in-chief in Jacob Zuma’s presidency, Ramaphosa now faces another hurdle that may thwart his chances of emerging as president in 2019: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current (AU) chair and ex-wife of president Jacob Zuma.

In response to these calls, Dlamini-Zuma has been more forthcoming about her presidential ambitions than Ramaphosa.
“In the ruling party you never refuse a responsibility. I have never refused any responsibility that the ANC asked me to do,” she said at a ANC Women’s League conference in August this year.
But the debate about who takes over from president Jacob Zuma is not merely a tussle between Dlamini-Zuma, accomplished woman candidate, and Ramaphosa, a successful businessman.

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Written by PH

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