Cape Town - Initial reaction from business groupings and industry bodies was to welcome the election of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the new leader of the ANC, and also call for ethical leadership.
Ramaphosa was elected as the ANC's president at the party's national conference at Nasrec on Monday evening with 2 440 votes, while Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma received 2 261 votes.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) described Ramaphosa's election as a "long anticipated change in the leadership of the ANC".
"BUSA affirms that business stands ready to work in partnership with the newly elected leadership in the pursuit of creating a conducive environment for sustainable and inclusive economic growth," it said in statement released shortly after the results were broadcast at 19:00.
The rand reacted positively to the ANC's election, rallying to a nine-month high under of R12.60 to the dollar.
Ethical and accountable leadership
“South Africans are looking for clear signs of consistent, ethical and accountable leadership, acting in the best interests of the country”, said Tanya Cohen, BUSA's CEO.
“We call on the newly elected leadership of the ANC to immediately occupy itself with a clear and practical programme of action that will address the country’s declining fiscal and macro-economic position."
She said BUSA expected the new ANC leadership to strengthen the "strategic partnership between government, business and organised labour" by placing more importance on the National Economic Development and Labour Council, or Nedlac.
Major issues the party's new leadership would have to deal with include youth employment, small business growth, the crises at many State Owned Enterprises and restoring good governance and accountability in the public and private sector.
Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter, meanwhile, said the newly-elected president of the ANC and other top party officials had a "considerable task at hand".
"On behalf of the mining industry, we wish them well," he said.
He echoed Cohen's views on the importance of a change in leadership priorities.
"We hope to see a renewed focus by the ruling party on responsible and ethical leadership in the national interest across all sectors of the economy and at all levels of society. The future of South Africa and its people depend on it.”
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said the most important task facing the incoming ANC leadership was fighting inequality, unemployment and poverty by growing an "inclusive economy that creates jobs".
"For this to happen, we require regulatory certainty and policy stability that will accelerate and deepen transformation," BLSA said.
"More than ever, we need focused, ethical and moral leadership from the ruling party, government and business, working in partnership. Rooting out corruption and defeating state capture in both the private and public sectors remain a priority."
BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale said the business grouping was committed to working with the new leadership.
"As set out in our contract with South Africa, we have committed ourselves to work towards faster, inclusive growth, transformation of our workplaces, growth of small business and, most importantly, job creation - especially amongst our youth," he said.
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