World Bulletin / News Desk
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) re-elected President Jacob Zuma as its leader on Tuesday, setting him up for seven more years as head of state of Africa's biggest economy.
The 100-year-old liberation movement also chose businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy, seeking to repair the battered image of a Zuma government that has been hit by a string of corruption scandals and shaky handling of the economy.
More than 4,000 ANC delegates crammed into a marquee in the central city of Bloemfontein erupted into wild cheers when Zuma was confirmed in the top party post after comfortably seeing off a challenge by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Given the ANC's dominance at the ballot-box less than two decades after the end of apartheid, 70-year-old Zuma is virtually assured a second, five-year term as President of South Africa in 2014 elections.
The rand briefly edged higher against the dollar after the announcement, reflecting relief among investors at the prospects of policies remaining largely unchanged under Zuma.
After the vote, the beaming president, who secured 2,995 votes out of 3,977 cast, walked on stage to shake hands with fellow ANC 'comrades' - a label reflecting the ANC's roots in the communist-backed struggle against decades of white-minority rule.
Zuma, a polygamous Zulu traditionalist, came to power in 2009 amid the first recession in 18 years and has had a chequered economic record, culminating in violent labour unrest in the mines this year that triggered two ratings downgrades.
He has also been dogged by personal scandals, including fathering a child by the daughter of a close friend, but his popularity within Nelson Mandela's ANC is overwhelming.
"I don't care what people say about Jacob Zuma," said Sinovuyo Kley, an ANC delegate from the impoverished Eastern Cape. "When you hear him sing, you know he is one with the people. He speaks our language and knows our struggles."
Last Mod: 18 Aralık 2012, 14:57