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JOHANNESBURG - The ANC provinces consolidated their nominations with Ramaposha having the most branch nominations as the party heads to the elective conference. Shortly after the announcement was made, the rand cheered as it strengthened more than 1% as markets became increasingly priced in Ramaphosa’s victory in the neck-and-neck race for the ruling party’s presidency.

This doesn’t mean though that the results of the 54th National ANC Conference taking place this weekend can be predicted. Branch delegates will be voting in a secret ballot and the outcome of the next ANC leader are unknown until all votes are counted.

Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec, said the up case for the market is perceived to be an ANC election outcome where Cyril Ramaphosa is elected president of the ANC.

“It is unlikely the market has fully priced in the different potential outcomes of December’s ANC elective conference, and there could be volatility in the rand should it disappoint,” Bishop said. 

Moneyweb had reported that the Rand Merchant Bank predicted that the rand could rally to below R13 to the US dollar, if Ramaphosa was to be elected and a win for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma could see the rand test the record lows it hit last year.  John Cairns, a currency strategist at RMB said that traders should brace for explosive moves after the weekend. 

He told Moneyweb, “We suspect that the rand’s gains are going to abate and the market will be cautious going into the weekend given the decisive vote is due on Sunday. But this does not imply stability; in fact, the opposite as nerves get drawn tight.”

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was emphatic that court rulings that nullify provincial and regional executive conferences would not scupper the party's 54th National Conference starting on Saturday.

Speaking at a briefing at the conference venue on Friday in Nasrec, Joburg, Mantashe said provincial executive committees (PEC) that are ruled by courts to have been irregularly constituted would only affect the 27 PEC delegates that each province has been allocated for the conference.

However, Mantashe asserted that the national conference would not be disturbed by the unfavourable judgments.

"The judges talk about nullifying the (provincial) conference. It doesn't talk about nullifying branches. If a PEC member is also a branch delegate, that PEC member can still come as branch delegate," Mantashe said.