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The summer sun shone bright and hard throughout Monday afternoon – a day when South Africa was waiting for the biggest announcement from the 54th national conference of the ANC at Nasrec.
Local residents in Orlando West gathered in small groups along the streets, hospitably sharing their favourite beverages with friends, and split in their views on who should become the party’s next president.
The moment came when the results were revealed and patrons of one of the popular pubs close to Mandela House, on Vilakazi Street, were divided in two – one group elated by Cyril Ramaphosa’s victory, the other fretting about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma not having secured enough votes to clinch the title.
Xoli Ngwenya, an Orlando West resident, said Ramaphosa’s victory gave hope to South Africans, adding that he spoke of the kind of South Africa people wished for – united and free of corruption.
“I was expecting this kind of outcome, for the sake of this country. Cyril Ramaphosa represents unity. He speaks of corruption-free and proper governance. There is now a strong likelihood that the ANC will redeem itself. The party will rise again as a united and a non-sexist organisation, with its great policies on poverty eradication and other things”, said Ngwenya.
He said Ramaphosa’s expertise in business would also help to revive the economy.
“This win means the revival of the economy. The rand swiftly strengthened immediately after the release of the results. We hope that SOEs (state-owned enterprises) will begin functioning again. If they do, and the governance is up to standard, then we can speak of progression,” Ngwenya said.
However, Phila Mseleku, also of Orlando West, said she would have preferred a female president.
“I’m really hurt by these results. I would love either Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Lindiwe Sisulu, to be the next president. I have had enough of men. I want a female president. I have never supported Ramaphosa.
“The ANC has done a lot for the people of this country and I think a lot more would be achieved if a woman takes over. The country is ready for a female president. Other countries have had women presidents, and they’re doing well. This is not fair and I think people are scared of women, including that ANC delegation,” said Mseleku.
Mpilo Ndlovu also supported Dlamini-Zuma, citing her previous success in various portfolios.
“She has done an excellent job, both as a minister of Home Affairs and as chair of the AU [African Union]. She has a proven record of success and I think we don’t have any excuse why she cannot be president,” said Ndlovu.