Top ANC official backs Ramaphosa despite dismal election result

By Tannur Anders

MIDRAND, South Africa (Reuters) - A top official in South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) backed President Cyril Ramaphosa despite a dismal result in this week's parliamentary election, saying he should still be the party leader and would not have to resign.

With just over 60% of votes counted, the vote share for the ANC - the party that has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 - was just under 42%, heading for its worst result in 30 years and the first time the party was on course to lose its parliamentary majority.

Nomvula Mokonyane, first deputy secretary-general of the ANC, told reporters at the election results centre: "Nobody is going to resign, ... collectively all of us we still are confident that he (Ramaphosa) has to remain the president of the ANC".

"Hurdles that we come through do not have to be apportioned to an individual," she added.

Asked whether the ANC had started talking to smaller parties about coalition possibilities, Mokonyane said the ANC's leadership would meet to discuss the issue and that internal party bodies would be consulted. "For now we are not talking to anybody," she added.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Silvia Aloisi)