MECs believed to be linked to President Thabo Mbeki, or whose support for Jacob Zuma was thought to be weak, have been purged from the ANC Youth League's list of nominees for the party's provincial executive committee in KwaZulu-Natal.
Those axed from the league's list are Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs, Weziwe Thusi, MEC for arts, culture and tourism, Lydia Johnson, MEC for public works, and Bheki Cele, MEC for transport and community liaison, who is also the chairman of the strong eThekwini region.
Cele was excluded despite his role in bringing the entire region to support Jacob Zuma prior to Polokwane.
"We knew there would be many perceptions regarding our list, but I want to state categorically that we select leaders because of their political credentials, not based on who supported who before the December conference," Mxolisi Kaunda, newly elected youth league chairman, said.
While excluding these MECs the league promoted one of its own leaders after it nominated the league's current secretary-general, Sihle Zikalala, for the position of provincial secretary.
The league also elevated staunch Zuma supporter and current deputy chairman Zweli Mkhize to the chairman's position, while current provincial secretary, Senzo Mchunu, was nominated as his deputy. If elected Mkhize will replace outgoing chairman Sbu Ndebele, who has indicated he would not be available for re-election.
Kaunda said they had opted for Zikalala because he had shown outstanding leadership qualities and had served the league for a long time.
"Zikalala served in the province as provincial secretary until 2004. The youth league is a political preparatory school for the movement and we are graduating him because he is ready to serve there," said Kaunda.
He said Mkhize's capabilities and leadership qualities were beyond doubt.
"Mkhize has proved that he is a capable cadre and a leader. He is a unifier and we believe he will play a big role in uniting the ANC itself and the ANC with other political parties, especially the IFP," he said.
Other names on the list include Peggy Nkonyeni, the current MEC for health, as deputy secretary; Siyabonga Cwele, the chairman of the Lower Coast region has been nominated as provincial treasurer, a position previously held by Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for local government. Kaunda insisted, though, that this was not the final list, but was a position taken by the youth league during its provincial congress last week.
"We are still going to lobby with ANC structures ahead of the provincial congress in May where new leaders will be selected," he said.
Kaunda dismissed allegations that the list was meant to purge certain leaders, including MECs.
University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said the list came as no surprise.
"Those leaders who did not come out in clear support of Zuma are now being marginalised."
But he warned that this should not be happening in the ANC if they wanted to grow as a party.