24/11/2017 06:44 SAST | Updated 24/11/2017 06:45 SAST

Ramaphosa, NDZ Neck And Neck In Presidential Race

But the jury is still out on how the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga will vote.

Muntu Vilakazi/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma share a light moment during the ANC's 5th national policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on July 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The jury is still out on who is leading the ANC's presidential race, and, although it has been widely suspected that Cyril Ramaphosa has the backing of most branches, it is simply too soon to tell.

Business Day reported on Friday that the Free State and North West have not released their nomination results, although the Free State is thought to be aligned to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the so-called "premier league" provinces.

Mpumalanga's support is also still uncertain. The province, with the second-largest delegation after KwaZulu-Natal, could sway the conference.

Business Day reported that Mpumalanga leader David Mabuza is on Dlamini-Zuma's slate as deputy president, but is remoured to be resistant to lending his support to either faction, and wants a "unity" approach.

According to Business Day, Ramaphosa's backers estimate that there's a 75% chance that he will have the support of 70% of the delegates at the ANC's elective conference in December. Ramaphosa's campaigners reportedly say that support in KwaZulu-Natal is closely spread between the two main contenders for the presidency, but Dlamini-Zuma's backers think she will have the province's support.

Dlamini-Zuma's backers, however, think she will get the support of roughly 2,700 to 3,000 delegates out of the total 5,000. Her camp reportedly believes she has the support of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State, North West, and the ANC women's and youth leagues.

MoneyWeb reported on Thursday that people familiar with internal voting processes believe Ramaphosa is in the lead, and has fared better than expected in Dlamini-Zuma's stronghold, KwaZulu-Natal.

The Institute for Race Relations reportedly estimates that a candidate needs 2,341 votes to win, and that Ramaphosa currently has the backing of 2,245 delegates. Dlamini-Zuma reportedly only has the backing of 1,064 delegates.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that Dlamini-Zuma turned down a request for a meeting with Ramaphosa, on advice from her aides that Ramaphosa wanted to weaken her campaign. Dlamini-Zuma's camp reportedly believes that Ramaphosa is spreading rumours about her camp running out of steam. This puts paid to any hopes that a single "unity" slate will be presented to delegates in December.