ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her backers believe they have the support of ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, The Sowetan reported on Monday.
While the struggle icon did not say so herself, Dlamini-Zuma's camp told the media that Madikizela-Mandela had always been a supporter of Dlamini-Zuma and she now saw the need for a female president.
Dlamini-Zuma and her supporters reportedly visited Madikizela-Mandela at her Soweto home on Sunday. She was flanked by ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini, the league's secretary-general Meokgo Matuba, former ANC spin doctor and Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans national executive committee member Carl Niehaus.
Journalists were reportedly asked to leave Madikizela-Mandela's house before the meeting took place.
According to The Sowetan, ANCYL chairman in Gauteng Matome Chiloane said on Facebook that Madikizela-Mandela told Dlamini-Zuma in 2007 that she wanted her to lead the ANC.
Dlamini-Zuma reportedly said: "Winnie is our hero. We can't go too far without touching base with her. Even last month I was here touching base with her. She wants to know how we are doing. We get wisdom from her...
"She believes also that it is time we have a woman president," she reportedly said.
Dlamini reportedly lashed out at those who had questioned whether it was time for the ANC to have a female president.
"That question is reactionary and problematic... our candidate is highly disciplined. She understands women's issues. I am sure that when she is the president she will ensure that we are not treated as objects," Dlamini reportedly said.