Ramaphosa, 65, is a former union activist-turned-businessman who made millions after democracy opened up South Africa’s markets to the world. An ANC veteran, he was elected by Jacob Zuma to serve as deputy president in 2014. His vocal criticism of government corruption likely gave him the edge over Dlamini-Zuma during their campaign.

Dlamini-Zuma is an accomplished politician who has served several roles in South African government and was most recently the first female chairperson of the ANC. But she struggled to separate herself from Zuma, despite the fact that the couple have been divorced for almost two decades. Many South Africans were concerned that if elected president, she would protect Zuma from any corruption-related investigations, and let the corrupt and patriarchal practices established during his two-term presidency rule go unchallenged. 

Ramaphosa is not entirely scandal free. South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has accused Ramaphosa of being complicit in corruption. “Ramaphosa has stood in Jacob Zuma’s shadow for years, silent in the face of his crimes and the crimes of fellow ANC comrades. His election means that the corrupt system that is oppressing South Africans will continue,” they said in reaction to the vote.

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