The leadership race within the ANC is hotting up once more as the party's provincial structures prepare to elect new leaders in the next three months.
The ANC plans to hold its provincial elective conferences in May. In Limpopo the die seems already cast against current chairman and premier Sello Moloto.
The man who is touted as the next ANC provincial chairman is the current general secretary, Cassel Mathale. He is said to be supported by the reigning king makers - the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). Mathale is also said to be the league's preferred candidate for the premiership.
Other names that have been thrown into the pot for premiership are that of housing and local government MEC Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and MEC for economic affairs Colins Chabane. Chabane is a member of the ANC national working committee.
The fact that all these names come from the Zuma-supporting camp is an indication that Moloto is no longer seen as a key political player.
"Moloto has only himself to blame. When he had the opportunity to align himself with comrades who are committed to building the party, he chose to surround himself with lackeys," said an ANC insider.
Moloto was part of the Mbeki-supporting faction.
Asked about his nomination, Mathale said the matter had not been discussed within ANC structures. He, however, said as a constitutionally elected structure of the ANC, the ANCYL had the right to lobby for individuals to occupy positions in the mother body.
The build-up to the provincial elections has already been marred by name-calling and campaigns to discredit one another.
Documents making personal attacks and disparaging comments about Moloto and the ANCYL leadership have already been distributed in the province.
Mathale has dismissed the attacks as acts by agents provocateurs who want to bring the party into disrepute.
He has also dismissed claims that other people preferred him or Chabane because "BaVenda and BaTsonga are tired of being ruled by BaPedi". This refers to the fact that the last two premiers in Limpopo had been of Pedi origin.
Yesterday the South African Communist Party in North West called on structures outside the ANC to refrain from interfering with the party's leadership election process.
The statement follows a recent move by Cosatu in North West to compile a list of its preferred candidates for the ANC provincial leadership.
The ANC has also come out against Cosatu's move, saying it amounted to interfering with and disrespect for the ruling party's democratic processes.