President Cyril Ramaphosa's success as a politician can partly be attributed to his ability to charm even his political foes.
In the run-up to the ANC's December national conference emotions were so high that some party leaders were said to be no longer on speaking terms with each other.
There were fears in some quarters that these tensions would escalate to the Union Buildings as Ramaphosa had decided to run for the ANC presidency even though the then incumbent, Jacob Zuma, had publicly stated that he wanted Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his successor.
Those fears were not unfounded.
Five years earlier, as the ANC prepared for its 2012 Mangaung conference, Zuma had a tense relationship with his then deputy - Kgalema Motlanthe - after the latter had availed himself for nomination against Zuma as president.
But somehow, as last year's conference neared, Ramaphosa managed to maintain cordial relations with Zuma and this, insiders say, went a long way in guaranteeing that the elective conference did take place.
By keeping the lines of communication open with Zuma, they say, Ramaphosa could ensure that both sides played the game according to the rules and that the vote would take place. The strategy paid off, leading to his election as party leader and, later, head of state.