President Cyril Ramaphosa has hit back at critics who have called him weak for delaying decisions to deal with leadership problems in the ANC and the country, saying he is not prepared to split the party.
In an interview following Ramaphosa's return from an investment seeking mission abroad last week, Ramaphosa reportedly told City Press that he was not a dictator, and that the party's ethos remained one of "collective leadership".
He reportedly said,
"I will give you a good example. Before president Zuma resigned, there were those who said: 'You are a weak president. Why haven't you kicked Zuma out, why haven't you dealt with him?'
"I said I would rather be seen as a weak president than split the ANC because that is not my mission. My mission is to keep the ANC united and I intend to succeed in having the ANC united."
Ramaphosa was reportedly asked if he was still in charge of the party. He responded:
"I am the president of the ANC, I am not a dictator of the ANC. The ANC has a national executive committee that is given the responsibility of leading the ANC in between conferences.
"The ANC's ethos and culture has always been collective leadership, and we are not going to depart from that because some people want to see a dictatorial leader who will tell people this is what you are going to do or else ...
"We don't work like that in the ANC. We build consensus, you take everyone along with you and that is the style of leadership that has always been used."
Ramaphosa also denied kneeling before the Zulu monarch, king Goodwill Zwelithini, when he visited the Zulu kingdom two weeks ago. He reportedly said the picture in question was taken last year, and it was "just a posture", taken when Ramaphosa was showing Zwelithini his book on his Ankole cattle.
Ramaphosa was accused of kow-towing to the king on the issue of land reform, following Zwelithini's threats to secede from the country should land belonging to the Ingonyama Trust be expropriated.
Ramaphosa returned from his trip with a commitment of $20 billion's worth of investment from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ramaphosa told reporters that he was "not playing around" in efforts to secure foreign investments, according to Eyewitness News.
We are in this not to play around... this is serious, this is about the growth of our economy," he reportedly said, adding that the drive to attract investment was being directed from his office, "to make sure that this does become a reality and is not just words".
Ramaphosa also told reporters he had given his economic cluster ministers two weeks to come up with a plan to ease the burden of high fuel costs and the VAT increase, Fin24 reported. "We know this matter is urgent and I wanted it to be attended to as quickly as possible... without raising anybody's hope I am saying there will be an interim report that they will give me. Economic cluster ministers will look at all options including the basket of products our people buy most, to see the extent with which we can extend non-vatable products. We obviously cannot temper much in the end where it impacts on the budget and tax legislation that is out there," he said."