A leading KwaZulu-Natal political analyst says the IFP would lose considerable support if ANC deputy President Jacob Zuma emerged victorious in Limpopo.
Protas Madlala says a Zuma win would be a major loss for the IFP.
"Zuma is known by many as a traditionalist. He is well respected by the rank and file of the IFP."
This would mean that IFP supporters would support Zuma and in turn the ANC, he added.
Another commentator, Zakhele Ndlovu, concurs that if Zuma wins, it would harm the IFP in the province.
"It would serve the IFP a great deal if President Mbeki were to emerge victorious in Limpopo because if Zuma wins, it would mean that the majority of voting people would vote for Zuma and the ANC. This would harm the IFP in the province," he said.
Ndlovu said he was also surprised by recent comments by IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
At the weekend Buthelezi expressed concern that interests of South Africa was being sidelined while Mbeki was battling it out with Zuma.
He said the divisions, backstabbing and accusations within the ANC ahead of the elective conference this weekend was bad for all South Africans and that ordinary people had suffered more because of the succession battles.
"The ANC has taken its focus off the issues and placed it on personalities. It is fighting over who gets what, rather than fighting for our country's future," Buthelezi said.
He further applauded Mbeki for his "patriotism" in leading the country as the president.
"South Africa has been led by a talented patriot with a clear grasp of public policy for the last eight years.
"He possesses a sense of certitude and a shrewd intellect," he said.
Ndlovu said he shared Buthelezi's sentiments on the fact that the succession battle has shifted the focus of government, However, he felt that Buthelezi was just taking advantage of the situation.
"Since the succession debate began, Buthelezi's comments have been clearly trying to take advantage of the situation.
"With 2009 national elections being the IFP's focus, he has been trying to create an impression that people must look outside the ANC for an alternative," said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu said Buthelezi was trying all he could to make people view the IFP as an alternative party, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.