South African President Jacob Zuma, right, flanked by his deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe at the second day of the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress.

Bloemfontein - ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe's move to contest the leadership of the party brings hope for many South Africans, an expert said on Monday.

“The nomination outcome indicates there is a voice of reason out there,” said Sethulego Matebesi, political analyst at the University of the Free State.

He said despite the possibility that Motlanthe would be out in the wilderness after the party elections, he had accepted the presidential nomination.

“Irrespective of the outcome, the move has given many South Africans hope, at least there will be a democratic process.”

Matebesi said this would bring confidence back to South Africans in the ANC.

President Jacob Zuma and Motlanthe were nominated for the position of party president at the ANC's national conference on Monday afternoon.

Matebesi said it was to an extent a surprise that Motlanthe had reconsidered his position as deputy president.

“My feeling looking to the interaction between them - Zuma and Motlanthe - one could actually feel the tension. I do get the feeling Jacob Zuma looks a bit overconfident.”

Matebesi said the loud cheers for Zuma in the tent when his name was called was not the voting process itself and much could still happen.

Mathews Phosa, Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale were nominated for the deputy president position. Five candidates were nominated from branch and provincial structures, but both Baleka Mbete and Motlanthe withdrew.

The nominations for national chairman were Mbete and Thandi Modise.

The secretary-general position would be contested between Gwede Mantashe and Fikile Mbalula.

Matebesi said Mbalula’s decision to accept his nomination was also surprising because of the feeling that he was still too outspoken.

“It is maybe a bit early for Mbalula.”

Matebesi said the withdrawals for nomination to deputy secretary-general left Jessie Duarte as the only candidate for the position, and this was an indication of the confidence delegates had in her.

Nominations for treasurer-general were Paul Mashatile and Zweli Mkhize.

Tokyo Sexwale and Lindiwe Sisulu declined their nominations for this position.

It was announced that the votes would be counted by hand.

Earlier it was confirmed that Free State and North West delegates would be part of the conference.

The credentials meeting of the national conference decided that voting delegates from the two provinces could participate, ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said. This meant they could vote for the party's top six officials.

The two province's delegates were asked to leave the conference venue at the end of the credentials meeting for a decision on the matter to be taken. -Sapa