Bloemfontein - The Free State ANC has nominated Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the province's preferred candidate to replace Jacob Zuma as ANC president at the party’s elective conference.
The province held its provincial general council (PGC) on Tuesday amidst outcries from some of its members, especially those who are in support of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Free State is the first province to officially endorse Dlamini Zuma as their preferred candidate while all other provinces are expected to hold their PGCs at the weekend.
The ANC elective conference will be held in two weeks.
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Along with Dlamini Zuma, other candidates on her slate were nominated by the province include; Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza as deputy president, Nathi Mthethwa as national chairperson, Free State Premier Ace Magashule as general-secretary and Jessie Duarte as deputy general-secretary and Dirco Minister Maite Nokoana-Mashabane as Treasurer.
The province's nomination of Dlamini Zuma and her slate may come as no surprise to many as Magashule is known as being part of the "premier league", a group of premiers from the Free State, Mpumalanga and the North West who supported President Jacob Zuma.
The PGC was also marred with rumours that some pro-Cyril Ramaphosa supports had decided to boycott the meeting and were planning to approach the courts on the matter. Many said they were shocked to be informed about the sudden announcement of a PGC a day before it was scheduled to take place.
Magashule's deputy Thabo Manyoni was a no show, sparking speculation that he had also boycotted the meeting, but the party said Manyoni's absence was not unusual.
The nomination numbers announced by the province on Tuesday night:
Dlamini Zuma - 209
DD Mabuza - 204
Nathi Mthethwa -103
Ace Magashule - 216
Jessie Duarte - 168