Today, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is choosing a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma at a conference in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.
In the race for the position are seven candidates, but only two Cyril Ramaphosa the current deputy president and former chairperson of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are more likely to secure the position.
Whoever wins is likely to be the next president of the country.
The ANC has governed South Africa for 23 years. While it has enjoyed large membership in the past years, the party has been marred by infighting and allegations of corruption. The party that has overwhelmingly won every election since 1994 is at crossroads. It is expected that whoever ends at the top position will mold the future of the party.
The candidate will either lead the ANC into another win or to its first national electoral defeat. President Zuma’s two terms come to an end in 2019.
There have been corruption allegations linking Mr Zuma with a wealthy Indian family, the Guptas.
Additionally, the president is faced with 18 charges of fraud and corruption scandals, specifically the 1999 arms deal, which could be reinstated.
Due to these and many other controversies, there have been several attempts both from within ANC and the opposition to remove him as the president of the country, all of which failed.
While a section of the citizens is excited to have a woman president, they are also concerned that under the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma, the incumbent president’s ex-wife, corruption will not stop.
Zuma handpicked Dlamini-Zuma as his successor. She has support from ANC Women’s League, a powerful women’s rights group that was founded in 1948.
On the other hand, Mr, a wealthy business mogul has support from the business community. He has a track record in private sector. He supports the ANC policies which prescribe putting economic and resources like land in black Africans hands in an effort to address apartheid.
Will ANC pick the first woman to lead AU, as its flag bearer, or will the party settle for a successful businessman?
Whichever the choice, the winner has to unify the party which has suffered major differences in the recent past. They have to address the needs of all South Africans from education, land ownership, to saving the country’s economy.
There are more than 5, 000 delegates taking part on the four-day ANC elective conference.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (C) and Cyril Ramaphosa (R) are the top challengers in the race to replace President Zuma (L)
Image: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko