18/12/2017 18:58 SAST | Updated 18/12/2017 19:02 SAST

BREAKING: Cyril Ramaphosa Elected ANC President

Ramaphosa narrowly defeated former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by 179 votes.

HuffPost SA

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected president of the ANC in a narrow victory at the party's 54th national conference in Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa defeated former African Union Commission chairperson and MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by 179 votes, with 2440 delegates ticking his name on the ballot paper, as opposed to Dlamini-Zuma's 2261.

He will now replace Jacob Zuma as the ANC's president. Zuma will remain state president until his term ends in 2019, unless the ANC votes to have him recalled.

The announcement was made by the party's electoral commission on Monday evening.

Ramaphosa's support base during his presidential campaign was derived from a strong anti-Zuma movement within the ANC, from various unions including Cosatu, and also from within the business sector.

During the run-up to the conference, Ramaphosa focused his discourse mostly on the need to improve the country's economy while taking a strong anti-corruption stance.

When branch nominations were collated earlier this month, Ramaphosa snatched an early lead. Ramaphosa received 1,859 branch nominations, most of which came from his strongholds in Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.