The ANC Youth League in the Free State has denied reports that it has endorsed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the next ANC president.
Member of the league, and its national executive committee member, Mojalefa Buti had stated that the ANCYL in the Free State would support Dlamini-Zuma to take over from Jacob Zuma when he steps down as party president in 2017.
Buti also said the league wanted provincial chairperson and premier Ace Magashule to take over from ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. He said Magashule had the ability to restore the party to its former glory.
"You need a leader of the calibre of comrade Ace Magashule, a man who's entrenched amongst the people, a person who unifies the organisation," Buti told the SABC.
But Free State youth league chairperson Mokalo Mohale said that those discussions had not taken place yet.
"As a structure, we have not sat down to hold such a discussion. We have to wait for the mother body to instruct us to do so," he said.
Ramaphosa vs Dlamini-Zuma
Buti's statement did not represent the views of the league in the province, Mohale said.
Dlamini-Zuma's name has been mentioned several times, with some structures publicly endorsing her. It is also widely speculated that many — including the youth and women's leagues, and some premiers — are lobbying for her.
In November, the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal endorsed the African Union chair to take over as leader of the 104-year-old movement. This despite calls from ANC leadership that the party was yet to open nominations, and that structures should be discussing criteria for choosing the next leaders to avoid deepening divisions.
Labour federation Cosatu, and some of its affiliated unions, have come out in support of deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Zuma.
Buti said that Dlamini-Zuma would be able to unite the ANC and South Africa, as she had managed to unite the continent.
But Mohale said his comments should not be seen as contradicting Buti's comments. "It must not be seen that we are in disagreement with [Buti]," said Mohale.