54th National Conference of the African National Congress
The 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) took place from 16 to 20 December 2017 in the Expo Centre Johannesburg at Nasrec, Gauteng, as the elective conference to elect the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) as well as other major party officials.
On 18 December 2017, Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent Deputy President of the ANC since 2012 and Deputy President of South Africa since 2014, was elected as President of the ANC, narrowly defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Following Jacob Zuma's resignation in February 2018, Ramaphosa was elected unopposed as President of South Africa by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018. Ramaphosa took his oath of office in the presidential guesthouse, Tuynhuys, by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Events leading up to the conference
Jacob Zuma was re-elected to a second five-year term as President of South Africa in 2014 and would be ineligible to stand for re-election in the national elections in 2019. Following a cabinet reshuffle in March 2017 and the country's subsequent downgrade by international investment firms, hundreds of thousands of South African's marched across the country demanding President Zuma's resignation. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his own presidential campaign on 22 April 2017 alongside former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the ex-wife of Jacob Zuma appeared at several ANC Women's League events and was expected to announce her candidacy in the coming months in the run up to the 2017 ANC elective conference. Ramaphosa was believed to be aligned to the anti-Zuma faction in the ANC, while Dlamini-Zuma was expected to be endorsed by most of the pro-Zuma members of the ANC. The ANC Women's League announced its endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma while COSATU announced that it would support Ramaphosa. Incumbent ANC President Jacob Zuma had been accused of State capture, allowing the Gupta family access to the Presidency, cabinet and state resources while denying the numerous allegations despite several independent agencies and media experts believing the allegations to have some substance to them.
On August 8, 2017, President Zuma narrowly survived a motion of no confidence against him with 198 Members of Parliament voting for Zuma to stay and 177 voting for him to go, which resulted in a purge of ANC MPs who supported the ballot against Zuma, including Makhosi Khoza.
Ramaphosa called for a judicial inquiry into state capture while Dlamini-Zuma based her campaign around economic transformation.
In September 2017, it was announced that former Commissioner of the African Union and Jacob Zuma's ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would return as a member of Parliament in order to broaden her appeal to ANC voters in order to win the Presidential nomination.
On 13 September 2017, it was announced that one of Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma's largest support bases, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, would have its annual conference result annulled. The short ruling came in what has been called the "ANC rebels case"‚ lodged by a faction supporting ousted chairman - and KZN Premier - Senzo Mchunu‚ who lost to Zikalala in a bitter and bruising internal battle. The application was led by Vryheid councillor Lawrence Dube and four other ANC members representing 43 branches. They went to court in July 2016 to ask for a rerun‚ citing various irregularities and intimidation.
New leadership elected
The ANC elective conference began on 16 December 2017. On the second day of the conference, delegates nominated candidates for the officials ("Top Six" leadership positions (President, Deputy President, Chairperson, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Treasurer)) as follows, with voting running through the night on 17 to 18 December, and results announced on the evening of Monday 18 December (victorious candidates in bold):
|Deputy President||David Mabuza||2538|
|National Chairperson||Gwede Mantashe||2418|
|Secretary General||Ace Magashule||2360|
|Deputy Secretary General||Jessie Duarte||2474|
|Treasurer General||Paul Mashatile||2517|
The rest of the National Executive Committee were elected and announced toward the end of the conference. There are 80 additional members that were elected.
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