Celebrations have come early in Limpopo for supporters of the provincial secretary of the ANC Cassel Mathale who will contest the party's chairmanship in July.
This follows the latest preliminary statistics of the provincial nomination process. Mathale outclassed premier and current chairman Sello Moloto.
The process offered ANC branches in Limpopo the chance to nominate future leaders ahead of the provincial conference to be held at the University of Venda in July.
Mathale currently leads the nominations in the province. He apparently has the support of some 135 branches. Moloto was nominated by at least 44 branches.
Mathale is said to be leading in Mopani, Sekhukhuni and Vhembe while Moloto has the support of most of the branches in the Capricorn and Waterberg regions.
According to statistics released by branches at the weekend, Mathale was nominated by 68 branches in Mopani, 38 in Vhembe, 18 in Sekhukhuni, 5 in Capricorn and another 5 in the Waterberg district.
Moloto was supported by 18 branches in Mopani, 9 in Vhembe, 14 in Capricorn, 9 in Waterberg and 2 in Sekhukhuni.
Mathale's chances have been boosted by the backing of Cosatu, Sanco, the ANC Youth League and the SACP. Moloto, on the other hand, has not been endorsed by any party structure outside ANC branches.
It is, however, an open secret that he has some support within the ANC Women's League.
More than 400 branches in the province qualify to take part at the conference. The nominations close on July 6.
Benny Boshielo, spokesman for ANC in the province, was not available for comment at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile, Moloto yesterday announced that more dams were to be built across the province.
He was addressing journalists during a media briefing to welcome an Italian delegation to the province.
The Italian government and Limpopo have an agreement to use agriculture to boost the province's economy.
United Nation representative Louise MacDonald said skills transfer was the best way to boost the province's economy.