In a broad interview following his investor-wooing international trip, President Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear he was not weak for wanting to create unity, saying he rejected a dictatorial style of leadership.
Ramaphosa returns victorious to South Africa after raising R265 billion in investments from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The trip has not been without its controversy. His acceptance of money from a country with a poor human rights record has prompted some to refer to it as blood money.
The president acknowledged that he was perceived as weak by some, but that was because he was firm on his vision of unity in the ANC.
He explained that his leadership style was inspired by the late Nelson Mandela, and that the party he led followed an ethos of collective leadership, which he was determined to stand by.
The president made reference to the split that occurred after the Polokwane conference, which he said had weakened the ANC. He said he was working to ensure another split would not deal a similar blow to the ruling party.
The perception that the president may be weak comes after Ramaphosa delayed former president Jacob Zuma’s recall and delayed the ousting of Supra Mahumapelo as North West premier.
A misleading photo recently surfaced showing Ramaphosa kneeling before King Goodwill Zwelithini. The timing of its reappearance made it seem as if the president knelt before the Zulu king during his visit to discuss the Ingonyama Trust, but Ramaphosa in the interview clarified that it had been taken a while ago, and he was only showing the king a book with images of cattle.
The president also revealed he would act on international investment projects that were signed by his Zuma, but had not been executed.