A late attempt by Thabo Mbeki's supporters in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal to offset Jacob Zuma and Tokyo Sexwale turned into a damp squib.
A brainchild of the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, the bid to change the list of nominations on Friday was crushed at the Gauteng provincial executive meeting.
Sowetan can disclose that Mbeki's supporters proposed to include Sexwale as treasurer in their list "because they hoped to gain from this by splitting the Gauteng votes of JZ and Tokyo", said an executive committee member who did not want to be named.
"They wanted to split the votes of JZ. Worried that they could lose the province, the supporters of Thabo Mbeki used Tokyo Sexwale in a bid to hold on to Gauteng.
"At a heated meeting on Friday, they proposed to add Sexwale as their choice for the position of treasurer. The proposal started a heated debate, which is why the meeting dragged on from 10am to 10pm," said our source.
Sources said Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, a staunch Mbeki supporter, was stunned by the strong negative response after looking bright when the proposal was made. Also at the meeting were NEC members Mathews Phosa and Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshega.
In KwaZulu-Natal, Mbeki's supporters yesterday tried to remove the name of premier Sbu Ndebele and bring in Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, the axed former deputy minister of health. But this was also vehemently turned down.
Madlala-Routledge was fired early this year by President Mbeki "because she was not a team player".