Ramaphosa Clearly Ahead in Tight Race to Lead ANC, Sisulu Says

(Bloomberg) -- South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading by more than 300 votes in the race to become the next leader of the ruling African National Congress, his running mate, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, said.

Sisulu said her estimate of the vote gap didn’t take into account court rulings that disqualified 77 delegates from two provinces that support Ramaphosa’s main rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife and preferred candidate.

Sisulu, speaking in an interview Friday at Bloomberg’s office in Johannesburg, suggested Zuma should step down as the nation’s president on his own accord, saying he should “do the right thing” after this weekend’s vote for the leadership of the party at its conference.

“The best case scenario is for the decision to come from Jacob Zuma himself,” she said.

The election comes as Zuma’s immersion in a succession of scandals is eroding the 105-year-old party’s support to such an extent that it’s now at risk of losing its majority in 2019 elections. Sisulu described the party’s ceding of control of Pretoria, the capital, and Johannesburg, the economic hub, in municipal elections last year as a “shock.”

The run-up to the vote by about 5,240 delegates is too close to call and has caused deep rifts in the ANC, weighed on the rand and nation’s bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.