South Africa’s ruling ANC party has re-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa as its leader for a second five-year term, despite a brewing scandal over a huge cash theft at his farm.
Ramaphosa garnered 2,476 votes for the post of party president against 1,897 for former health minister Zweli Mkhize, the African National Congress’ elections chief, Kgalema Motlanthe, announced on Monday.
“It’s a good outcome not only for the governing party… it’s a good outcome for the country,” Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya told reporters.
“The president is quite energised,” he added.
Ramaphosa’s comfortable victory opens the way for him to a second term as South African president if the ANC win the next general elections, due in 2024.
Under the constitution, the head of state is chosen by parliament.
More than 4,300 delegates, gathered at a conference near Johannesburg, cast their ballots on Sunday to appoint top officials, including party president, deputy president, chair and secretary general,
The party’s former treasurer, Paul Mashatile, emerged deputy president.
Ramaphosa, 70, won the contest despite being mired in accusations that he concealed the burglary of a huge amount of cash at his upmarket cattle farm.
As the nation’s vice president, he ascended to the ANC’s top job in December 2017 as his boss Jacob Zuma battled a mounting corruption scandal.
The following February, Zuma was forced out by the ANC.
Ramaphosa took office vowing to weed out endemic corruption and renew the party.
But his image has been dented by the burglary scandal.
The affair has raised questions as to why he was in the possession of so much cash, and why he failed to report the theft to the authorities.
He won a reprieve ahead of the conference when the ANC used its majority in parliament to block a possible impeachment inquiry.