By Angelique Serrao

Speculation has been rife after Ekurhuleni Mayor Duma Nkosi handed in his letter of resignation to the ANC's regional council.

Although Nkosi had not yet officially commented on his resignation, it has been widely known in ANC circles in the Ekurhuleni region that his request to be relieved of his post has been accepted.

In line with the gender equality issues which the ANC has been punting as part of its policy, a woman candidate might be chosen.

A strong contender is likely to be Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe, as she is already well known in Ekurhuleni as the Speaker of the council.

Another person who stands a good chance is chief whip Moses Maseko.

Other names which have been thrown around include Vulindlela Mapekula and Panyaza Lesufi.

Mekgwe is a strong candidate as she is already a major figure in the council; she knows the region well and has a strong track record of good governance.

She also sits on the board of the South African Cities Network and represents the municipality on the South African Local Government Association, the Gauteng Intergovernmental Forum and the Gauteng Premiers' Co-ordinating Forum.

Mekgwe has been involved in various projects and campaigns, including the Oliver Tambo celebrations, mayoral roadshows and the 16 days of activism against woman and child abuse.

"As women we have power and we need to stand up to change our situation Women need to be empowered and local government practitioners can play an important role in this," she said last year.

The second candidate that may be up for the mayoral position is Maseko.

Maseko has been involved in various mayoral projects and is a well-liked candidate for the post of mayor.

He has been actively involved in fighting crime in his community and has been quoted numerous times in the media for speaking out during major crime busts, including weapon stashes that police in Ekurhuleni uncovered.