Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected leader of the ruling African National Congress to succeed South Africa President Jacob Zuma.
Mr Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa’s richest people, has vowed to fight rampant corruption and revitalise the economy, a message hailed by foreign investors.
The country’s deputy president narrowly beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, a former cabinet minister and the ex-wife of President Zuma, in Monday’s vote, marking a pivotal moment for the ANC which launched black-majority rule under Nelson Mandela’s leadership 23 years ago.
Outgoing President Zuma’s second and final term as party leader has ended after a scandal-ridden tenure that has seen a plummet in the popularity of Mandela’s liberation movement.
But now as ANC leader, Mr Ramaphosa is likely to become the country’s next president after elections in 2019.
He smiled and hugged other party officials as the results were read out.
Mr Dlamini-Zuma, 68, the president’s preferred candidate, had campaigned on pledges to tackle the racial inequality that has persisted since the end of white-minority rule.