There has been several claims that president Ramaphosa is weak.

Fresh from raising $20bn (R265bn) in investments, President Cyril Ramaphosa has challenged critics who claim that he is weak, insisting instead that he is effective and is driven by a desire to unite the ANC.

Ramaphosa was speaking during a wide-ranging interview following visits to Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Speaking at the end of the trip, Ramaphosa:

– Denied that he had knelt before Goodwill Zwelithini when he met the Zulu king last week to address the Ingonyama Trust controversy;

– Said he refused to be a “dictator” and would always follow former president Nelson Mandela’s leadership style;

– Pledged to continue with his mission to clean up state-owned enterprises; and

– Said he would act on international investment projects that were signed by his predecessor Jacob Zuma but that had not taken off.

Ramaphosa conceded that he was seen as weak when he delayed recalling Zuma after he was elected as the president of the ANC in December, and when he delayed removing former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, who faced a violent mass revolt in his province.

“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.”

The sentiment that he is weak has largely come from those who campaigned for him to ascend to the presidency as they are frustrated that he is taking too long to dismantle the Zuma faction that still controls some provinces.

Ramaphosa chuckled when asked if he was in charge of the still-divided party.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Despite the unity rhetoric in the party, there is an anti-Ramaphosa faction that wants an early national general council (NGC) to be held so that Ramaphosa can be recalled.