The African National Congress has chosen Kgalema Motlanthe, a moderate intellectual and the ruling party's No. 2, to be South Africa's caretaker president, Reuters reports. He will fill the job vacated by Thabo Mbeki, who resigned this weekend after the party demanded he step down. Motlanthe is a loyalist of Jacob Zuma, the head of the ANC, and could be confirmed as president as soon as today.
The choice of Motlanthe, who was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island during the years of apartheid, is intended to calm fears among international economists that South Africa is in crisis. He is expected to serve until next April, when South Africans go to the polls in a presidential election that Zuma is all but guaranteed to win.