Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Reuters.

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is set to appoint Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy in a new cabinet to help oversee implementation of the state’s economic plan, said Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser to Zuma.

“Cyril is likely to be the deputy president in line with ANC procedure, because whoever has been elected the president or deputy president in the party takes up that position in government,” Zulu, who is a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, said in an interview in Johannesburg today.

“There hasn’t been any indication that he will not take up the position. President Zuma and the country needs a strong deputy in cabinet.”

The 102-year-old ANC is looking to Ramaphosa, 61, to help strengthen leadership in the government and bolster its support after the ruling party won May 7 elections by the lowest margin since it took power 20 years ago.

Ramaphosa, one of the richest black businessmen, was elected deputy president of the ANC in 2012.

The ANC’s top six leaders, including Zuma, Ramaphosa and Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize, are discussing the composition of the cabinet, Zulu said.

Zuma is expected to announce the names a day after he is sworn into office for a second term on May 24.

‘Secure’ Jobs

“The president and deputy president are the only two who’s jobs are secure,” Enoch Godongwana, head of the ANC’s Economic Transformation Committee, said today by phone.

Ramaphosa may oversee the government’s long-term economic policy, the National Development plan, which seeks to boost growth to 5.4 percent a year from the government’s economic growth estimation of 2.7 percent this year as well as to cut the jobless rate to 14 percent by 2020 from 25 percent.

The ruling party hemorrhaged support to its two main rivals in Gauteng, the nation’s richest province, winning 53 percent of the vote last week, down from 64 percent five years ago.

“The ANC is shaken up by the loss in support and we are doing analysis on how we can improve and do better for our people,” Zulu said.

“Cyril’s leadership could help the ANC get back the support it lost in these past elections. There is definitely room for the ANC to make a comeback especially in provinces like Gauteng.” - Bloomberg News