A day-and-a-half into the ANC’s national conference, key battles have been fought, lost and won by the factions aligned to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The presidential race remains nail-bitingly close. Both sides held large caucuses during the conference at which they conducted head counts of their voting delegates. Both sides declared that they had sufficient numbers to secure a victory. The running battles at the conference provide a more objective assessment of who could emerge as the winner. Most of the losses before the conference were wrought on the Dlamini-Zuma camp and the Ramaphosa side has achieved key victories. A key victory for Dlamini-Zuma was an endorsement by Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza days before the conference started. He brought the second-largest delegation to the conference and has long vacillated over whether to support her. Mabuza admitted to his regional leaders last Thursday that his attempt at forming a "unity" ...

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