Controversial and popular South African politician Jacob Zuma was elected leader of the ruling African National Congress on Tuesday, defeating President Thabo Mbeki. The victory is a pivotal moment in a career that's been in turmoil in the past.

Thabo Mbeki (L) and Jacob Zuma(R) [AFP]
In recent years, Zuma faced several legal battles, including a rape trial in which he was acquitted, and corruption charges, which he still faces.  But the win now puts Zuma in a position to take South Africa's top job and become president in 2009 when Mbeki is constitutionally obliged to step down.

The battle between Mbeki and Zuma for the ANC leadership was littered with controversy, and Zuma will now be closely watched.  South Africans will be waiting to see what he can deliver in the fight against poverty, crime and AIDS.  The business community and the world are waiting to see what the new left-leaning leadership of the ruling ANC part has in store. 

Inside Story takes you inside a changing ANC and the future of South Africa.

This episode of Inside Story airs on Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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Source: Al Jazeera