Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the favourite candidate of the African National Congress (ANC’s) heartland province KwaZulu-Natal in the race to succeed South Africa president.
According to figures released by the party, the ex-wife of President Jacob Zuma was nominated by 250 local ANC branches with her arch-rival deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa preferred by 69.
Zweli Mkhize, the party’s treasurer, was nominated by only two branches.
The ruling party is set to hold an elective conference in Johannesburg next month to pick a new leader when President Zuma steps down as the ANC chief.
So far, the outcomes of ANC branch nominations countrywide point to a two-horse race between Dr Dlamini-Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa.
“You can see the situation is unlikely to change,” said KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League chairman, Kwazi Mshengu at a press breakfast in the provincial capital Durban.
About 500 local ANC branches are yet to nominate their preferred candidates. They have until November 15.
But the ANC in Dlamini-Zuma’s home province, KwaZulu-Natal, is adamant the former African Union Commission chairperson would be elected as the next party chief and as the national president in 2019.
Ahead of the December conference, ANC has been riven with factions backing the two leading candidates.
However, Mr Mshengu said if Mr Ramaphosa wins the election, KwaZulu-Natal would support him with the same vigour it would its preferred candidate, Dr Dlamini-Zuma.
“If the impossible happens that Comrade Ramaphosa emerges as president, we will remain in the ANC,” he added.