JOHANNESBURG - North West may not be one of the most influential provinces in the ANC's presidential race, but with the vote set to be extremely close, every delegate counts.
Provincial party members have chosen Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as their preferred candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma.
Recent polling data shows ANC-leaning voters in the province may hold different views.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma leads with 291 branch votes, compared to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's 45.
The recent Provincial General Council (PGC) shows slate politics is still a strong factor, despite the ANC speaking out against it.
The province will send over 500 delegates to next week's national conference.
In a recent poll conducted by done by MarkData and commissioned by eTV, the largest group of ANC voters - nearly 42 percent - said they did not have a preferred candidate in the heavily contested race.
Of those who did name a choice, Dlamini-Zuma won nearly 12 percent, while Ramaphosa was the first choice of 39 percent.
Political analyst Karima Brown said: “It is unsurprising that MarkData's research shows there is support for Ramaphosa. In those provinces, you have President Zuma and (the) state capture project essentially hijacking the organisation.”
The 2012 Marikana massacre was expected to be a factor in the North West decision.
Ramaphosa promised to visit the area where scores of mineworkers were shot down but has not done so as yet.
In August, Dlamini-Zuma was chased away after attempting to visit the site.
Brown says: "The tragedy of Marikana has become a political football, both inside the ANC and by other political parties, who use the tragedy to score points off each other."
Going by branch support, Ramaphosa leads the race with more than 1,800 branch nominations, compared to Dlamini-Zuma's more than 1,300.
But a lot could change before the conference 16 December kicks off.