Boost for Ramaphosa ahead of ANC vote as Sisulu drops out of the race

Former South African housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu. She has dropped out of the race for leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) to instead contest the deputy position. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

Lindiwe Sisulu has dropped out of the race for leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) to instead contest the deputy position.

Ms Sisulu will contest the position under Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is in a tight leadership race with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former African Union commission chief.

A joint statement from the two nominees said:

"The Deputy President of the ANC, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa and Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu have welcomed with humble appreciation the nominations of the ANC branches, indicating that they would like Comrade Cyril to be the next President of the ANC and Comrade Lindiwe to be the next Deputy President of the ANC."

Ms Sisulu's move is seen as a last-ditch effort to remain at the top of the party.

Her backing of Mr Ramaphosa is seen as a boost to his campaign ahead of an intensely competitive party conference which has split the ANC down the middle.

President Jacob Zuma, who back his ex-wife Ms Dlamini-Zuma in the race, will step down as party leader over the weekend but will remain head of state until 2019.

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