The numbers don't seem to add up for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his bid to succeed President Jacob Zuma as leader of the governing ANC. That's if a first glance at the provincial voting allocations are anything to go by.
And David Mabuza, the ANC strongman in Mpumalanga and its provincial chairperson there, is now the kingmaker. He has recently advanced the candidature of Zweli Mklhize, the ANC's treasurer general, as a unity candidate.
There has been a surge in voting delegates in Mpumalanga and North West. This is bad news for Ramaphosa.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary general, forwarded the final tally for voting delegates to all nine provincial secretaries on Friday, and it seems to indicate that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma's preferred candidate, to be in a very strong position ahead of the party's elective conference in December.
According to the letter by Mantashe 4 723 branch delegates will have the right to vote. The calculation is based on one voting delegate per branch that has 100 paid-up members. For every 250 paid-up members extra, branches receive one extra voting delegates. The branch delegates will be joined by representatives from the leagues, who also have voting rights. Provinces' voting size is based on proportional representation given the number of members in "good standing", or paid-up.
1. KwaZulu-Natal is still the biggest and most influential voting bloc, with 870 voting delegates for a share of 18,4%. No wonder Zuma is pushing for the provincial executive committee to appeal the ruling which disbanded it.
2. There has been a surge in voting delegates in Mpumalanga and North West. This is bad news for Ramaphosa.
3. The Eastern Cape has relinquished its position as the second biggest province in the ANC -- and that's even worse news for Ramaphosa.
4. Mabuza, Mpumalanga's premier, is now a kingmaker. His province's share of voting delegates jumped by 57,6% from 2012, from 467 delegates to 736 delegates and is now the second biggest voting bloc.
4. North West, where Supra Mahumapelo holds sway, more than doubled its share of voting delegates, jumping by 130%.
5. The erstwhile "premier league" (Free State, North West and Mpumalanga) command 35% of the vote, although Mabuza has since denounced its existence.
6. Limpopo, his place of birth, might be ray of light for Ramaphosa. (He has won the endorsement of the provincial chairperson as well as its biggest region.) It will be the fourth largest voting bloc at Nasrec with 13,6% of the voting delegates.
7. Dlamini-Zuma's path to the presidency: She needs KwaZulu-Natal, plus North West, Free State and Mpumalanga.
8. Ramaphosa's path to the presidency: He seemingly has the Eastern Cape, Western and Northern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo. He needs Mpumalanga.
9. Dlamini-Zuma will win if she gets Mpumalanga, even if Limpopo goes to Ramaphosa.
10. The leagues (women, youth and veterans) will vote as provinces. Their share has yet to be determined, but all have pledged loyalty to Dlamini-Zuma.
Provincial voting allocations (Mangaung 2012 in brackets):
KwaZulu-Natal 870 (974) 18,4%
Mpumalanga 736 (467) 15,6%
Eastern Cape 648 (676) 13,7%
Limpopo 643 (574) 13,6%
North West 548 (234) 11,4%
Gauteng 508 (500) 10,8%
Free State 409 (324) 8%
Northern Cape 197 (176) 4%
Western Cape 182 (178) 4%