Here is the ANC’s new top 6

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 18: Newly elected top 6: Jessa Duarte, Ace Mashagule, Gwede Mantashe, Cyril Ramaphosa, David (DD) Mabuza and Paul Mashatile during the announcement of new party leadership at the 5th African National Congress (ANC) national conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on December 18, 2017 in Soweto, South Africa. As ANC delegates‚ supporters of the two presidential candidates were equally confident that their preferred choice will be announced as the new president of the ANC. The race was between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa‚ the only two nominees for the party's top position. (Photo by Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

Cape Town – Voting for the most sought after positions of influence within the ANC has concluded at the 54th national conference and as expected, there are changes in the nucleus of the party’s so-called ‘Top Six’.


Cyril Ramaphosa

Votes received: 2440 (Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: 2261)

Age: 64

Positions Held: Deputy President, Chairperson of the national planning commission

Ramaphosa became deputy president after his election to the position in the ANC in 2012. At the time, he was wooed by President Jacob Zuma’s camp to give the slate “credibility”. Before that, he was the chair of the national planning commission that produced the National Development Plan, the country’s blueprint for growth towards 2030.

Ramaphosa ran his campaign on a message of clean government, and has had huge public support from business, the media and civil society. He will have a tough time following through on his election promise though, with corruption entrenched deep in the structures of the party and a top 6 that has three staunch Zuma supporters in Ace Magashule, David Mabuza and Jessie Duarte.

Cyril Ramaphosa (Gallo Images)

Deputy President

David Mabuza

Votes received: 2538 (Lindiwe Sisulu: 2159)

Age: 57

Positions Held: Premier of Mpumalanga

The man who’s referred to himself as “The Cat” for his many political lives supported President Jacob Zuma in Polokwane in 2007 and was rewarded with the premiership of Mpumalanga in 2009. Those in the know say he has since been running the province like his personal turf with the president’s protection.

While others were resting on their laurels, Mabuza was registering ANC members in Mpumalanga, making sure that the province had the second largest number of voting delegates at the conference, guaranteeing his election as deputy president. With him being the antithesis of Ramaphosa, it will be interesting to see the two of them work together in government.

David Mabuza (Gallo Images)

National Chairperson

Gwede Mantashe

Votes received: 2418 (Nathi Mthethwa: 2269)

Age: 62

Positions Held: Secretary General, Chairperson of the SACP

Mantashe has been in the position of secretary general of the ANC for the past 10 years, and his legacy will be a mixed one. While having a friendly, engaging relationship with the media, during his tenure the Congress of the People (Cope) and Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) broke away from the ANC, the party’s support declined significantly and divisions between branches have been at their worst.

He does, however, have a very good understanding of the party and still has good relations with the alliance members, which could help mend fences in future. The big question will be, if he has gained experience as part of the problem, can he be part of the solution and rebuild the ANC?

Gwede Mantashe (Gallo Images)

Secretary General

Ace Magashule

Votes received: 2360 (Senzo Mchunu: 2336)

Age: 58

Positions Held: Premier of the Free State, Free State provincial chairperson

Magashule has been chairperson of the ANC in the Free State for 23 years. The Free State premier is a staunch Zuma supporter. He has been implicated in the #GuptaLeaks for redirecting R30m that was intended for a Free State dairy project, through a web of Gupta-related companies to pay for the wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia in 2013.

Magashule has been a key cog in Zuma’s state capture machine and as secretary general will play an important role in furthering ANC policies like radical economic transformation and land reform.

Ace Magashule (Gallo Images)

Deputy Secretary General

Jessie Duarte

Votes received: 2474 (Zingiswa Losi: 2213)

Age: 64

Positions Held: Deputy Secretary General, Gauteng MEC member, ANC spokesperson, ambassador to Mozambique

Duarte has been part of the ANC since she was recruited by Albertina Sisulu in 1979 when she was just 26. She played a central role in building the Women’s League and worked as a personal assistant to Nelson Mandela after his release from prison.

In 1994, she became Gauteng’s MEC for safety and security. She has been deputy secretary general of the ANC since 2012 and knows the position well. She is a staunch Zuma supporter and has been outspoken against members of the media who have dared to criticise the president. Remaining in this position, some say, she will be the eyes and ears of the former president and his allies.

Jessie Duarte (Gallo Images)

Treasurer General

Paul Mashatile

Votes received: 2517 (Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: 2178)

Age: 56

Positions Held: Member of Executive Council for Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance in the Gauteng legislature, Gauteng provincial chairperson, Minister of Arts and Culture, Premier of Gauteng

Mashatile is the master of branch politics, and a political survivor of note. He came out of the political wilderness to secure the position of ANC treasurer-general after Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza indicated that he supports his nomination.

During his tenure as Gauteng premier, there was massive corruption, but Mashatile has never really been directly implicated. He is an outspoken critic of Zuma, and has managed to maintain the support of branches in Gauteng to become treasurer general, a position that gives him full control of the party’s finances. It might be a poisoned chalice though, as the ANC is reported to be in deep financial trouble.

Paul Mashatile (Gallo Images)
(Featured image: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)