It was exactly a year ago, when Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as ANC president. Following months of contestation, with 7 presidential hopefuls availing themselves for the governing party’s top position.

The conference was held in Nasrec, Johannesburg.┬áIt was a fiercely contested 54th ANC Elective Conference which saw slates and further divisions within the ruling party and deepening factions continued as the fight to land the party’s top post was high on the agenda.

Seven presidential hopefuls threw their hats in the race but it was clear that Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were the two leading candidates for the ANC’s top post.

Other candidates who had availed themselves for the position, included Zweli Mkhize, Lindiwe Sisulu, Mathews Phosa, Baleka Mbete and Jeff Radebe.

But it was on this day, where Ramaphosa ascended to the highest position in the party.

Despite Ramaphosa winning the race by a slight margin it was victory celebrated by most and defeat accepted by the losing side. Delivering his inaugural speech, Ramaphosa hailed the conference as success.

“In the months and weeks before this conference, speculation was rife, that the 54th conference of the ANC would either not take place or collapse on the very first day. Your attendance here as delegates representing your branches, is a victory over the doomsayers and those who do not wish our movement well. We therefore have to congratulate you on having defied the negative speculative predictions by making this conference a successful conference.”

Ramaphosa further commended the party, saying the conference had united the party.

“Nasrec has not only united us, it has also strengthened us. It has galvanised us and has also rejuvenated us and we continue to surprise and confound our critics. Because we are the African National Congress.”

Political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, says efforts of uniting the ANC after the conference have been made by Ramaphosa, but says the party’s usual internal challenges continue especially in KZN and the North West are hinderance.

As the country head to the 2019 polls it remains to be seen whether Ramaphosa will take a united ANC through the elections, as another hurdle of the ruling party’s list conference is yet to be finalised.

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