Ramaphosa scandal looks set to intensify the ANC’s slide, ushering in a new era of politics

The African National Congress (ANC) faces an increasingly uncertain future as the dominant political party in South Africa following the recent scandal engulfing its leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The party has steadily been losing popular support for the past two decades. It went into the last general elections in 2019 with only one trump card – Ramaphosa. He has been the party’s main vote-winner following his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s corrupt reign which ended in February 2018.

The ANC built its 2019 election campaign around Ramaphosa, after polls showed that he was its the only leader who continued to enjoy substantial credibility among voters. Even then, the ANC won only 57.5% of the national vote – the lowest since 1994.

But Ramaphosa’s image as an anti-corruption torchbearer – and vote winner – is in jeopardy after a controversial former spy boss laid criminal charges – including money laundering and defeating the ends of justice – against him in early June 2022. The charges related to the theft of a large amount of cash in US dollars from Ramaphosa’s farm in 2020. Ramaphosa owns a 4,500 hectare rare game and cattle farm, called Phala Phala, in the north east of South Africa.

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