Ramaphosa’s victory has been widely welcomed in the business sector and by trade unions in the country, with investors remaining cautiously optimistic.
The current Deputy President edged opponent Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, receiving 2 440 votes to his opponent’s 2 261 votes at the ANC’s elective conference.
Trade unions welcomed the new leadership, with Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann telling TimesLive that Ramaphosa understands the balance between the market and job security.
“Unfortunately, the ANC will have to go further than to just merely elect a new leader for the party. It will also be necessary for the country to get a new leader. Zuma will have to be recalled for stability,” Hermann was quoted as saying.
Economist Dawie Roodt told the same publication that investors might reconsider investing in South Africa, but doubts that Ramaphosa will be able to turn the country around.
“He will not be held back by his own ability‚ but the ability of his organisation. I think the DNA of the ANC is poisoned. It is not as if the state’s debt is gone. We still have one of the worst education systems in the world. We still have a swollen public service that is paid hopelessly too much,” he was quoted as saying.
Business Leadership South Africa has called for the ANC to focus on inequality, unemployment and poverty by growing an inclusive economy.
George Sebula, Black Business Council Secretary-General said they were positive that the new leadership will contribute hugely to creating an environment that is conducive to radical socio-economic transformation and job creation.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports investors cheering for Ramaphosa’s victory may be getting ahead of themselves.
Guillaume Tresca, a Paris-based strategist at Credit Agricole, said that the market is getting ahead of itself.
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“First, Zuma could remain President until 2019, which means there is a risk of negative political noise. Second, there could be a balance of power to keep the unity of ANC, so it could be less positive than earlier thought,” Tresca was quoted as saying.
Johannesburg-based Sonja Keller, strategist at JPMorgan, echoed the sentiment, stating that the financial markets would probably anticipate Moody’s holding off on a ratings downgrade in March next year.
“If the election results in a mixed slate, with the top six new ANC leaders drawn from both the modernist and traditionalist camps, such expectations could be muted or indeed absent,” said Keller.
Additional reporting by TimesLive and Bloomberg