The chances of South African Communist Party national treasurer Phumulo Masualle taking over from ousted Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela have been boosted after four of the six ANC regions backed him over other candidates.
An impeccable ANC source in Bhisho told Sowetan yesterday that Masualle had the backing of OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Ukhahlamba and Cacadu, while the Nelson Mandela region is not counted in the process because it has been disbanded.
The remaining two regions, Amathole and Alfred Nzo, want economic affairs and tourism MEC Mbulelo Sogoni as premier.
A delegation of the ANC provincial executive committee, led by secretary Siphato Handi, visited Luthuli House yesterday to convince the party's national working committee to choose from Sogoni, Gloria Barry and local government and housing MEC Thoko Xasa for the position.
Though Luthuli House is beating about the bush in public about whether it has fired Balindlela and her Western Cape counterpart, Ibrahim Rasool, the party has told them they have to go.
It is now a question of finalising their replacements with party structures and provincial legislatures.
Rasool said in an interview this week that he had been told that he would be replaced and that he would obey the ANC's decision.
A leading candidate to take his place is Lynne Brown, MEC for finance and tourism.
Balindlela has remained quiet but it is understood she didn't deny her failures when Luthuli House confronted her.