It's confirmed: Zuma vs Motlanthe

Incumbent president Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe are both going to stand for the ANC presidency.

ANC President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe on 16 December 2012, the first day of the party's conference in Mangaung on. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

MANGAUNG - Nominations for leadership positions at the ANC's 53rd national conference in Mangaung were announced on Monday, with Kgalema Motlanthe making it clear that he wants the top job and nothing else.

Motlanthe accepted nomination for the position of president, thereby challenging incumbent Jacob Zuma.

In a dramatic move, Motlanthe declined nomination for deputy president, meaning he won't stay on as Zuma's deputy if he loses the presidential race.

A member of the Electoral Commission, Thobile Thomas, who was running the programme, made the announcement in the main plenary tent.

Thomas began by confirming Motlanthe as a presidential nominee.

"The first candidate for the position of president is Kgalema Motlanthe."

There was a much louder cheer when Zuma was confirmed as a presidential nominee.

But the big twist was Motlanthe declining the nomination for deputy president.

"We have had Kgalema Motlanthe who has withdrawn for position of deputy president," Thomas confirmed.

Cyril Ramaphosa has also confirmed his hat is in the ring for deputy president.

Ramaphosa will have to fight off challenges from Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale.

Gwede Mantashe and Fikile Mbalula will be going up against each other for the powerful role of secretary general, as was widely expected.

Mbalula and incumbent Thandi Modise pulled out of the race for deputy secretary general, leaving ANC veteran Jessie Duarte to stand unopposed.

Paul Mashatile and Zweli Mkhize were each nominated for the post of treasurer general.

Sexwale and Lindiwe Sisulu declined their nominations for this position.

Rounding off the top six list, Free State ANC leader Ace Magashule withdrew from the race for chairperson, following Sexwale's 2007 move by pulling out so that women could contest the position.

Modise and Baleka Mbete will now stand for the position.

Officials from the electoral commission have now started preparing ballot papers.

"We have to finalise the voters roll to make sure it reflects the credentials adopted by the conference," an official said.

Voting will take place on Monday afternoon, with the outcome expected later in the evening.