Power is about to change hands in South Africa and the man that may be taking the reigns from incumbent President Jacob Zuma may have successfully started the journey on Monday.

The man is Cyril Ramaophosa, South Africa’s incumbent deputy-president.

The path seems cleared for Ramaphosa on Monday after he got elected leader of the ruling African National Congress, a pole position that will make him president of the country in 2019.

Ramaphosa emerged the winner in the tightest election for the party leadership ever, beating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s former wife and chairperson of the African Union.

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The former trade unionist beat Dlamini-Zuma with just 150 votes, winning 2441 votes to his challenger's 2261 votes.

Observers of South Africa’s politics believe that Ramaphosa’s victory may quicken President Jacob Zuma’s end in office.

Another election for the country’s presidency is not due until 2019.

Zuma backed his wife, who was also a former minister under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

So, who is Cyril Ramaphosa?

Mr Ramaphosa is a politician, businessman, activist, and trade union leader who has served as the Deputy President of South Africa under President Jacob Zuma since 2014.

He is respected as a skillful negotiator and strategist who acted as the ANC's Chief Negotiator during South Africa's transition to democracy.

Ramaphosa built up the biggest and most powerful trade union in South Africa—the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

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He played a crucial role, with Roelf Meyer of the National Party, during the negotiations to bring about a peaceful end to apartheid and steer the country towards its first fully democratic elections in April 1994.

Ramaphosa was Nelson Mandela’s choice for future president.

Today, Cyril Ramaphosa is well known as a prominent businessman and has an estimated net worth of over $450 million with 31 properties and previously held notable ownership in companies such as McDonald's South Africa, chairperson of board for MTN and member of the board for Lonmin.

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