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South African Deputy President and president of the ruling African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a rally in Cape Town. Photo: Rodger Bosch / AFP / Getty Images

Almost two months after he was elected leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, Cyril Ramaphosa is poised to become the country's next president as negotiations enter the second week over the fate of embattled President Jacob Zuma.

What’s happening now: Zuma is refusing calls to step down, and party leaders say a vote of no confidence will be held tomorrow. If he's ousted, as expected, parliament will elect the next president. Ramaphosa, 65, will almost certainly win due to the ANC's dominance in parliament.

A former trade union organizer and key Mandela ally, he has been South Africa's deputy president since 2014.

Ties to Mandela
  • Ramaphosa was a protégé of Nelson Mandela — the anti-apartheid revolutionary who later became the country's first black president in 1994.
  • He was reportedly Mandela's top choice to serve as deputy and heir apparent, but internal party politics led to Ramaphosa being passed over. He later rejected a cabinet post and left politics.
  • He was Mandela's lead negotiator in the talks that ended apartheid, and later chaired the constitutional assembly that drafted South Africa's post-apartheid constitution.
Nelson Mandela and Cyril Ramaphosa celebrating the presidential victory in 1994. Photo: David Turnley / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images
Labor leader to business mogul
  • Ramaphosa was General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1980s and early 1990s, leading a massive strike in 1987.
  • After the end of apartheid, his political influence at a time when new laws were integrating blacks into the economy allowed him to acquire stakes in a variety of industries, per the NYT. His business empire grew over time, and included McDonalds' South African operation, mining investments and more.
  • He is one of the country's richest politicians, per the BBC, which reports that he has a net worth of about $450 million.
Controversies
  • In 2012, police slaughtered 34 striking miners at a platinum mine for which Ramaphosa served on the board of directors. "He was accused of betraying the workers he once fought for, especially after emails emerged showing he had called for action against the miners," per the BBC.
  • Ramaphosa has been accused of being out of touch (particularly after he bid $2 million for a prize cow at a livestock auction) and of enriching himself through a system he helped design.
  • He faced allegations last year of having extramarital affairs with at least eight women. He denied them and said they were part of a smear campaign to derail his ambitions to become party leader, according to local media reports. He later admitted to having an affair eight years ago, but denied other extramarital relations.
Return to politics
  • Zuma appointed him in 2014 as deputy president.
  • The ANC, which has governed South Africa since Mandela won the presidency, elected Ramaphosa as party leader last December. That came after Zuma narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, which also exposed the rift in the party over concerns that Zuma's scandal-plagued eight-year rule has tarnished the party.
  • Ramaphosa has received support from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, run by close colleagues of the deceased president, which said an early exit by Zuma would allow the ANC to "shore up" its prospects for next year’s election.

Go deeper: South Africa's Zuma under mounting pressure to resign

Go deeper

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, is pictured outside the John Joseph Moakley United State Courthouse in Boston on March 25, 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A price tag of $500 billion to $555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.