President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe would probably find it difficult to work together should they retain their positions, an expert said on Thursday.
Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir said the contest for the African National Congress' top job could result in animosity between the two men and even their supporters.
“(However) he (Motlanthe) appears to be a party man and could rise above this,” Fakir said.
“It is possible that they can still work together... (but) it's up to them to speak to their supporters as well.”
Motlanthe's spokesman Thabo Masebe on Thursday confirmed that the deputy president had accepted a nomination to stand for election as ANC president.
“The deputy president was informed by the electoral commission of the ANC that he was nominated for three positions - president, deputy president, and additional member (of the national executive committee),” Masebe said.
Motlanthe gave the commission his decision on Tuesday.
Another political analyst Steven Friedman on Wednesday said Motlanthe's acceptance of a nomination did not change who would win or lose.
“I think Mr Motlanthe knows that. The ANC's president is chosen by the branches and the branches have overwhelmingly voted for Mr (Jacob) Zuma,” he said, on the sidelines of a panel debate at Constitution Hill.
He said unless hundreds of delegates at the party's elective conference ignored what their branches had decided, Zuma would be re-elected as president.
Many of Zuma's allies have warned Motlanthe that if he contests the incumbent at Mangaung they would not support him for deputy president, but rather give their vote to businessman and national executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa has been nominated by some provinces for the role of deputy president. It was not clear though whether he had accepted.
Fakir said if Motlanthe lost the race for president he would still be in the race for deputy president, contesting Ramaphosa if he accepted nomination.
However, it would be up to the Zuma supporters to decide if they were going to play “hard and fast” and refuse to support him.
“The Zuma people now have to consider whether they want to imprint this culture that if someone runs against their preferred candidate they exclude them.
“The onus is on them,” he said.
With uncertainty around Ramaphosa's acceptance of the nomination there were questions about his business interests and the impact his election would have.
Fakir said as ANC deputy president Ramaphosa's business interests would legally not be a problem for now.
“He's not deputy president of the country, he remains a private citizen. However, there is a public morality question that will come into play... If he becomes deputy of the country then different calculations apply,” he said.
When looking at the figures which emerged out of the provincial nomination conference it seemed clear that Zuma was set to retain his position and serve a second term.
Zuma had received 2521 nominations from the ANC's nine provinces and Motlanthe received 863.
Despite the numbers Fakir said things could change.
When it came to voting ANC members could “show the middle finger” and vote for who they personally wanted to lead the party, Fakir said.
“Look at the number breakdown - Zuma has 2521 out of the 4500 delegates. That is the majority, but what about the couple of hundred people who will be able to be persuaded?” - Sapa