A single, negotiated slate for the sake of "unity" is unlikely to emerge at the ANC's elective conference, with the two major presidential candidates, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, unable to agree on who should be elected alongside them, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.
Dlamini-Zuma will reportedly not accept proposals for her to be Ramaphosa's deputy.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela also made an attempt to persuade the Ramaphosa camp to reconsider its decision to dump presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu as its candidate for deputy president. The Ramaphosa camp wants branches to nominate science and technology minister Naledi Pandor as deputy.
But, Ramaphosa's camp is reportedly still open for horse-trading.
Another sticking point standing in the way of a "unity" ballot is the fact that Dlamini-Zuma wants Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as deputy president, while Ramaphosa is reportedly unwilling to compromise on his choice of Gwede Mantashe as chairperson.
Ramaphosa's backers in the North West are unhappy with his choice of Pandor, the Mail & Guardian reported.
TimesLive reported that Mabuza was willing to give up his candidacy for the deputy presidency if it will unify the party.
"I am willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of unity," he reportedly said. "If we are saying the unity of the ANC must be put first, that means the leadership of the ANC that we are going to elect is going to be achieved through consensus."
ANC branches in Mpumalanga who voted for "unity" have been told they should vote for Dlamini-Zuma at the ANC's elective conference next week, according to Business Day.
At the province's general council earlier this month, there were 223 nominations for "unity", backing none of the candidates.
It is reportedly unclear whether the instruction to these delegates to vote for Dlamini-Zuma comes from Mpumalanga chairman David Mabuza or from Dlamini-Zuma's backers in the province.
It the 223 nominations were added to Dlamini-Zuma's total nominations at the moment, this would leave her with 1,581, Business Day reported. This will give her a boost against Ramaphosa's total nominations, which currently stands at 1,860.
But it is not certain that all 223 will vote for Dlamini-Zuma when the time comes, as many are reportedly Ramaphosa backers.
Provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu told Business Day that the unity votes were seen as spoilt ballots, and that the provincial nomination "signed by myself and the provincial chairman is for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma."