Northern Cape African National Congress secretary Zamani Saul has been elected provincial chairman. Picture: Danie van der Lith/ANA Pictures
Colesburg – Northern Cape African National Congress secretary Zamani Saul has been elected provincial chairman with incumbent premier Sylvia Lucas declining nomination at the ANC provincial elective conference in Colesberg.

Deshi Ngxanga was elected provincial secretary and Bentley Vass as Saul's deputy. Maruping Lekwene is the new deputy secretary, while Fufe Makatong was elected treasurer.

Saul reportedly backs Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the ANC leadership in December when President Jacob Zuma's second term as party leader comes to an end.

Ramaphosa and former African Union Commission chairwoman and Zuma's ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma appear to be the front runners for the ANC presidency.

The run-up to the ANC's Northern Cape conference was marred by disputes regarding membership audits, which saw a group of ANC members travel to the party's head office in Johannesburg to raise their concerns.

They accused some leaders of manipulating branch lists and urged secretary general Gwede Mantashe to halt the conference. Lucas further surprised party members when she reshuffled her provincial executive on the eve of the conference.

Provincial alliance partners, such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), condemned Lucas's decision and accused her of sowing divisions within the party by selecting MECs loyal to her.

As she declined nomination on Friday, Lucas reportedly slammed the manner in which the conference was converged, and said there had been irregularities in the run-up to the conference and she would petition the ANC national executive committee to review the conference and its outcomes.

Lucas was appointed premier in 2013 to replace Hazel Jenkins. The ailing Jenkins agreed to step down due to health problems. The conference ends on Sunday.