To the great relief of most South Africans, Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victorious in a very tight-run battle for the presidency of the ANC. Of course, there are widely divergent views on Ramaphosa himself but even those who are critical of him have to acknowledge that he is in another universe compared to what we have had to put up with since 2009 when Jacob Zuma became President.
There is a widely held view that voting delegates had seen a fall in support for the ANC, reflected in falling membership and the outcome of the 2016 local government elections where the ANC won 62% of the vote, its worst result since 1994.
Going into the 2019 national and provincial government elections with a highly compromised presidential candidate like Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma might have resulted in electoral defeat if the ANC's support were to fall below 50% - or so the analysts said.
There might be some merit in that argument, but the tables below show that the decisive factor was the surprisingly wily strategy of the now Deputy President of the ANC, David Mabuza.
David Mabuza has been in big in Mpumalanga politics since 1994 and supported...