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    South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, kisses a reconstruction of Homo naledi's face during a news conference at Maropeng Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Magaliesburg, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015

    South Africa: New ANC President Could End Up Being a 'Lame Duck' - Professor

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    Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as the new head of the African National Congress. But Mzukisi Qobo, a professor of foreign policy at the University of Johannesburg, told Sputnik it was by no means certain he would be South Africa's next president.

    Mzukisi Qobo, an Associate Professor at SARChI, Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, University of Johannesburg, explained Mr. Zuma would remain South Africa's president until the next general election in the summer of 2019.

    South African Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected on Monday, December 18, as the president of the African National Congress (ANC), beating his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former wife of President Jacob Zuma.

    If the ANC wins that election, Mr. Ramaphosa would be chosen by an ANC-dominated South African Parliament as the next President.  

    But Professor Qobo said the ANC's political credibility was tarnished by the stench of corruption which hangs over Mr. Zuma and several of his key acolytes and it may fail to win the next election unless Mr. Ramaphosa was able to radically reform the party.

    South African President Jacob Zuma (L), former African Union Chairperson and presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (C) and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) dance after the closing session of the South African ruling party African National Congress (ANC) policy conference on July 5, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa
    © AFP 2019 / MUJAHID SAFODIEN
    South African President Jacob Zuma (L), former African Union Chairperson and presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (C) and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) dance after the closing session of the South African ruling party African National Congress (ANC) policy conference on July 5, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa
    "For any leader of the ANC to change the party and to stamp their mark on the country they really need massive support from within the party, which means their victory has to be very decisive, which Ramaphosa doesn't have. His margin of victory was extremely small," Professor Qobo told Sputnik.

    Ramaphosa Urged to Make Two Bold Moves

    He suggested Mr. Ramaphosa needed to make two bold moves to show the electorate he was really serious about reforming the ANC and ridding it of corruption.

    The first of these would be to take advantage of a court ruling earlier this month which gives him the power to appoint a new head of the National Prosecution Authority, which would pave the way for Mr. Zuma to face criminal charges for corruption, said Professor Qobo.

    ​Secondly, said Professor Qobo, he should set out the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

    "These two actions would put him in very good stead in how he is perceived by society and would show he is the kind of leader who has the moral capacity and leadership to reform the country's politics, to clean up the mess and provide the leadership for the economy. Without that he could find himself a lame duck leader as ANC president and by the time of the election he would have lost his credibility. People will find it hard to trust him and the opposition may be able to put together a coalition which would make it impossible for Ramaphosa to become president," Professor Qobo told Sputnik.

    Ramaphosa Has '50/50' Chance of Succeeding

    He said Ramaphosa had a reputation for being decisive but he gave him only a "50/50" chance of succeeding in reforming the ANC.

    State capture is a phrase which implies systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state's decision-making process to their own advantage.

    In the case of South Africa it revolves around allegations surrounding the Gupta family, who run a business empire in the country and have been accused of manipulating the ANC and Mr. Zuma in particular. 

    ​Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old businessman, is one of the richest people in the country but has not been tarnished with the stench of corruption which hangs around the 75-year-old president.

    "Nelson Mandela once told me one of his biggest regrets was not doing more to help make Cyril Ramaphosa his successor," UK business tycoon Richard Branson tweeted on Tuesday, December 19.     

    But Professor Qobo said he did still face questions about his business and especially about his role at the mining giant Lonmin and the part he played in the Marikana massacre in 2012, when 34 striking miners at one of Lonmin's platinum mines were shot dead by police.

    Growing Black Middle Class

    Professor Qobo said the overall standard of living in South Africa had improved significantly since 1994 but, despite the rise of a black middle class, unemployment was still high and incomes were still very low for the majority.

    ​He said a "very corrupt elite" had failed to address some key structural problems in the economy and had used government as a means of personal enrichment but he said the country's problems were very different to neighboring Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe was forced to step down as president last month.

    Professor Qobo said Mr. Ramaphosa needed to increase business confidence in the South African economy in order to increase investment and job creation.

    The views and opinions expressed by Mzukisi Qobo​ are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    general election, state, president, election, corruption, African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, Jacob Zuma, Johannesburg, South Africa
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