Cyril Ramaphosa may have won the race to be leader of the ANC, but he failed to decisively wrest control of the party from President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma’s faction retains influence in the ANC’s incoming National Executive Committee (NEC) and was felt in conference debates on divisive policies such as land expropriation and nationalisation.
Ramaphosa’s incomplete victory lessens his chances of ousting Zuma from the state presidency before his second term ends in 2019.
That could disappoint investors who have bet heavily that Ramaphosa, 65, will be able to turn around the economy.
The rand has been volatile since Ramaphosa’s election, as investors continue to assess how much clout he wields.
“Because Ramaphosa does not have a strong majority in the NEC and because of the lingering presence of Zuma loyalists, he will not be able to drive his own agenda,” Eurasia Group Africa director Darias Jonker said.
The new NEC, announced in the early hours of yesterday, is split roughly 50-50 between the Ramaphosa and Zuma factions.
The party’s top six most powerful officials are also split down the middle.
Zuma said yesterday there was no winner or loser in the election of leaders.
Were Ramaphosa to try to force Zuma from office, he would need to secure the support of the NEC, which includes his main rival in the ANC race, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Others on the NEC include prominent Zuma lieutenants Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Energy Minister David Mahlobo.
A senior ANC source said the Ramaphosa camp would try to ensure that the shift to full state ownership of the Reserve Bank would go no further than the resolution adopted at the conference.
Land expropriation without compensation is also unlikely to become the norm soon, but the fact that the ANC called for the constitution to be amended as a step in that direction could dent already weak investor confidence.
“This kind of rhetoric will now have to inform Ramaphosa’s speeches and perpetuate concerns over property rights at a time when the economy needs exactly the opposite signals,” Anne Fruhauf, an analyst at consultancy Teneo, said
Yesterday, the DA criticised the ANC’s call for land expropriation, saying it failed to address the broader issues of property rights for poor South Africans and government mismanagement of existing land programmes. – Additional reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Reuters