President Cyril Ramaphosa, centre, celebrating an ANC election win. The eight provinces that the ANC won were solely through the popularity of Ramaphosa, says the writer. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia/EPA

The unexpected win for the ANC was a resounding victory for Cyril Ramaphosa. It was a huge vote of confidence by the electorate in him 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 Jacob 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, 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.

If the ANC under Ramaphosa lost, the Zuma faction would have pushed for a coalition with the splinter parties and hopefully roped the EFF in with an offer to make Julius Malema 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 the electorate.

One survey revealed that Ramaphosa’s popularity among the people was as high as 86% compared to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, 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 Malema by surprise. He accused Ramaphosa of not being voted as a president and challenged him to go on election campaign. Well, Ramaphosa did, and gave them all a thrashing.

The eight provinces that the ANC won were solely through the popularity of Ramaphosa. Even the Zuma acolyte, Ace Magashule, refuses to accept it, out of sheer bitterness.

Not even Thabo Mbeki’s late support contributed much to Ramaphosa’s victory. Mbeki has the unpopular reputation of being the Aids denialist who cost 350000 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 Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party got only 5000 votes from his 300000 members, which means that the rest went to Ramaphosa. So much for the power of our unions.

Ramaphosa should stop kowtowing to the tripartite alliance and he must start asserting his authority. He doesn’t need the ANC, the ANC needs him.

All his premiers will back the leader, just to save their bacon.

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 divisive racial hate speech.

* Rapiti is a commentator and family physician, specialising in child and mental health and addiction counselling.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.