This exposes that for some of the key players‚ the battle is not about loyalty to the candidates or what their branches want.
There is obviously a belief that there could still be gerrymandering secure desired outcomes.
President Jacob Zuma appears to be among the people who believe that some strategic moves could influence the outcome.
His dinner with the seven presidential candidates last week was supposedly to foster unity but was really another attempt to convince them to support his proposal for a second deputy president post.
The problem with this proposal‚ other than it is a transparent move to ensure that the losing candidate is able to secure the second top job by default‚ is that ANC branches have not agreed on it or nominated people they want to fill the post.
If Zuma has his way‚ this would therefore be an under-the-table deal‚ which the ANC membership would just have to live with.
Once such deals are made in the name of “ANC unity”‚ where do they stop?
Perhaps there would then be attempts to secure a Mugabe-type exit for Zuma‚ although it would be impossible for him to be offered amnesty in terms of South African law.
What happens to all Zuma’s loyalists in cabinet‚ who need to be shown the door if there is to be any recovery from the multiple disasters they have brewed?
Would there be deals to keep Lynne Brown‚ Bathabile Dlamini‚ Faith Muthambi‚ Nomvula Mokonyane and Mosebenzi Zwane in their posts for the sake of unity?
If the ANC is locked in a compromise deal between competing factions‚ would it be possible to take firm decisions on issues such as state capture and economic recovery‚ or would the dithering continue?
If the top leadership is a mesh together of opposing interests‚ it is possible that Zuma as well as people like National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams and SA Revenue Service boss Tom Moyane would be kept in place‚ merely because it would become impossible for the ANC to reach consensus.
As the conference date approaches‚ anxiety and desperation are building‚ which could result in all manner of deals being made to secure support.
Some of the candidates have campaigned for change and a clean up of the ANC. But the deals being proposed are primarily to entrench the power networks‚ both in the ANC and the state.
A deal with the devil rarely goes well for anyone other than the devil.