South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the nomination process of the top African National Congress (ANC) officials in the 55th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dec 18, 2022. (SUMAYA HISHAM / REUTERS)

JOHANNESBURG — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC), an ANC official said on Monday, paving the way for him to contest the presidency in 2024.

Ramaphosa, who had been widely tipped to secure a second five-year term as ANC leader at a party gathering in Johannesburg, beat former health minister Zweli Mkhize in a two-horse race.

Ramaphosa has denied wrongdoing and not been charged with any crimes over the scandal

He secured the most nominations from rank-and-file ANC members and is widely viewed as the country's most popular politician.

The announcement of Ramaphosa's victory was greeted by wild cheers from his supporters in the large conference hall.

South Africa's rand, banking stocks and local sovereign bonds made gains after Ramaphosa's win.

His allies also took top seats in the party, with chairman Gwede Mantashe retaining his position while Fikile Mbalula was elected Secretary-General, who takes charge of the day-to-day running of the party.

READ MORE: South Africa's ruling ANC coasting to win in national vote

Ramaphosa's re-election campaign was dogged by the "Farmgate" scandal that broke in June involving large sums of foreign currency found hidden at his private game farm.

Ramaphosa has denied wrongdoing and not been charged with any crimes over the scandal, but it has raised questions about how he acquired the money and whether he declared it.

Mkhize was health minister during the COVID-19 pandemic, until Ramaphosa put him on special leave last year over after allegations his department irregularly awarded contracts to a communications company controlled by his former associates.

READ MORE: S. Africa's ANC leads after 80% of voting districts counted

Mkhize has denied wrongdoing over the contracts.

He campaigned for the ANC leadership during the party's last leadership contest in 2017, losing out to Ramaphosa.