Kgalema Motlanthe will resign from government and leave the way clear for Zuma to bring Ramaphosa in as deputy president immediately, rather than waiting until 2014.
Motlanthe has had to accept that Jacob Zuma beat him by 2983 votes to 991 in a secret ballot. At the same time, Cyril Ramphosa received 3,018 votes from delegates, which makes him one of the most popular - if not the most popular - individual in the ANC right now.
Kgalema Motlanthe probably made the most moving speech of his career when he announced he would not stand for the NEC. Motlanthe, who had dedicated 15 years as an ANC office-bearer - 10 as Secretary-General and five as Deputy President - thanked the party and all South African citizens for giving him a chance to serve them.
Delegates gave him a rousing standing ovation.
Mothlanthe told them: “We must continue to champion democracy in our country and the world over.”
He said South Africa must de-racialise and rid itself of sexism. “We must attend to the economic challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
Even though he was the loser, he endorsed the new leadership, saying: "The leadership was elected by the entire membership of the African National Congress."
He ended by thanking Zuma for allowing him to speak even though protocol did not allow for this.