The citizens have spoken

South Africa - Pretoria - 11 May 2019 - Elections- President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the IEC Results Operation Centre during the official election results announcement. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

The shocking and unexpected win for the ANC was a resounding victory for Ramaphosa. It was a huge vote of confidence by the electorate in Ramaphosa and not so much for the ANC. This victory for the ANC can only be rightly described as the victory of Ramaphosa’s ANC. He has given it a new image, annihilating the ugly image of the party under Zuma’s corrupt rule with the shameless support of a number of his corrupt former ministers and corrupt businesses.

Ramaphosa had to fight a tough battle, and for the most part, alone. He started his campaign with a most indefensible legacy of rampant corruption handed to him by Zuma, who unashamedly told citizens, that his allegiance to the ANC came before the country. Ramaphosa had to fight against the Zuma faction of the ANC, which tried desperately  to destroy Ramaphosa by supporting parties like the ATM, ACM, BLF. Zuma, even had the audacity, at the height of the election campaign, to praise his arch nemesis and rival, Malema, praising him for his potential to be a great leader. Zuma gave Ramaphosa a smack in the face and, it was clear that Zuma had the full backing of his wife Dhlamini Zuma and his faction.

The Zuma faction gambled on the radical parties headed by the Gupta lackeys, Manyi, Hlaudi and Mnxitima to win a sizable number of votes from the ANC and, in so doing, destroy any chances of victory for an ANC under Ramaphosa. If the ANC under Ramaphosa lost, as planned, the Zuma faction would have pushed for a coalition with the splinter parties and hopefully, roped the EFF in with offer to make MALEMMA the president, an offer he would have found hard to refuse.

Their plans backfired very badly because, the Zuma faction and Zuma himself had no control of an electorate, who had enough of the corrupt Zuma.
One survey revealed that Ramaphosa’s popularity amongst the people was as high as 86% compared to Dhlamini, who scored a mere 14%. It seems that the Zuma faction completely miscalculated Ramaphosa’s popularity and must be regretting it terribly.

Ramaphosa’s popularity even took the loud mouthed Malemma by surprise. He accused Ramaphosa of not being voted as a president and challenged him to go on election campaign. Well Ramaphosa just did and gave them all a thrashing. Ramaphosa has put the Zuma faction into a corner, surviving on life support that is about to be switched off and banished the arrogant EFF to the benches of the opposition, without any need for Ramaphosa to go, cap in hand, to the haughty Malemma to form a fragile coalition government with him.

The eight provinces that the ANC won, was solely through the popularity of Ramaphosa, even the Zuma acolyte, Magashule, refuses to accept it, out of sheer bitterness because his plan with Zuma to have Ramaphosa removed, backfired badly. Ramaphosa had to even contend with the disparaging comments by a another so-called stalwart, Mothlante, who predicted that Ramaphosa was not a saviour to save the ANC and openly advised people not to vote for the ANC at a time when Ramaphosa needed him most. I hope he is eating his words.

Not even Mbeki’s late support contributed much to Ramaphosa’s victory. Mbeki has the unpopular reputation of being the AIDs denialist who 350 thousand HIV patients their lives, so he did not add much value to the campaign. Ramaphosa did not have the support of COSATU nor did he need it. Irvin Jim, of the African socialist party only got 5000 votes from his 300 thousand members, which means that the rest went to Ramaphosa. So much for the power of our Unions.

Ramaphosa’s victory is a strong vote of confidence in him by the citizens. He should stop cow  towing to the tripartite alliance and he must start asserting his authority. He doesn’t need the ANC, the ANC needs him. All his premiers, typical of human beings, will back the leader, just to save their bacon. Zuma would be the last person that they would want to be associated with now.

I have no doubt that the rest of the branches will swing to Ramaphosa’s side to win in the municipal elections because for most of these ANC politicians, politics is the only way to earn a living. We can be glad that with Ramaphosa in charge we have a stable government instead of living through the instability of a fragile coalition government with amorphous parties that do not see eye to eye.

It is up to our president to carry out the people’s mandate and that is: to get rid of corruption in government, prosecute the criminals in his party and kick start the economy. He is the president that was elected by the people so he no longer has to fear the Zuma faction or the EFF, who ran a campaign on a ticket of lies and divisive racial hate speech.

Dr Ellapen Rapiti is a family physician, specialising in child and mental health and addiction counselling.