The upcoming Limpopo regional elective conference will be a make-or-break test of the province’s once-taken for granted support for deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as the party president ahead of the December elective conference.
The province now appears deeply divided over the succession battle between Ramaphosa and outgoing African Union commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The regional conferences will be held next month as the national succession battle intensifies. Limpopo was widely expected to back Ramaphosa, who has links to the province.
However his detractors in the province have argued that this can’t be a factor.
A National Executive Committee (NEC) member lobbying for Dlamini-Zuma to take up the reins told News24, they are closely monitoring the regional conferences, describing the battle in Sekhukhune, Waterberg, Mopane, Vhembe and Peter Mokaba as “very bad”.
“The divisions are quite deep, they are very bad and the regional chairpersons that emerge will determine who [between Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa] has the support of the province,” said the party official.
There have also been claims of intimidation in the processes leading up to the regional conferences.
This week, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) claimed its provincial secretary was forced to sign-off on a branch general meeting at gunpoint in Waterberg on Wednesday.
Chairperson Stan Mathabatha confirmed the tensions. He told News24 that provincial executive committee members had been sent to Waterberg to assist with the tensions but was unaware of the recent incident, as reported by the league.
Another source said the province is likely to go to the December national elective conference divided, as none of the factions will emerge with an outright majority.
They said a divided Limpopo was likely to be a disadvantage for Ramaphosa, as Dlamini-Zuma is seen as a front-runner.
This is after she was backed by the ANC Women’s League and is widely seen to have the support of the so-called Premier League that include the premiers of Free State, parts of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West and Mpumalanga.