Canaan Mdletshe and Eric Naki
A political expert has indicated that ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma stands a good chance of clinching victory at the ANC national conference in Limpopo next month.
Political analyst Protas Madlala believes Zuma is likely to become the ANC's next president because "he enjoys some support from other provinces".
Madlala's observation comes on the eve of a provincial general council to be held tomorrow and on Sunday to officially nominate the top six positions and the additional members of the national executive committee.
He said it was a mere formality for KwaZulu-Natal to hold the provincial nomination conference.
So far in KwaZulu-Natal most lists favour Zuma for president; Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy president; Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairman; Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general; Baleka Mbete, deputy secretary; and Mathews Phosa as treasurer.
Party branches countrywide will start their nomination processes today and end on Sunday with the ANC Women's League being the last structure to hold a nomination conference on Monday.
KwaZulu-Natal, where all 11 regions had nominated Jacob Zuma, is expected to hold its nominations tomorrow and on Sunday.
Provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu said the congress will continue at the weekend without those branches.
"We can't wait for them. They know the date of the deadline and they have until then to make their nominations," said Mchunu.
Asked if the media reports indicating that almost all nominations backed Zuma, Mchunu said "only the electoral commission has powers to open the nomination envelopes, and at this stage, I don't know who leads the pack".
But he acknowledged that only three branches nominated President Thabo Mbeki for the third period.
But there are strong indications in the province that a majority of the branches have put Zuma at the top of their lists.
With 608 delegates, KwaZulu-Natal is the second-biggest province after the Eastern Cape, which leads the pack with 906 delegates to the conference in Limpopo.
Of the 608 delegates, 172 come from the influential, strongest pro-Zuma eThekwini region, which boasts 92 branches.
eThekwini regional secretary, John Mchunu said as a region, they were opposed to two centres of power.
"We believe that whoever becomes the president of the party holds the same position as the president of the country," Mchunu said.