The Race: ANC succession battle producing drama at every turn


President Jacob Zuma at the Armed Forces Day parade in Bloemfontein on 21 February 2013. Picture: Lenyaro Sello/eNCA.

JOHANNESBURG - The race for the ANC&39;s top job is producing drama at every turn.

eTV commissioned a poll exploring voter sentiment in the Free State and North West.

Most voters appear to be backing Cyril Ramaphosa, but the final decision will be taken by ANC branches.

The ANC will choose its next leader in just two weeks.

The Free State held its provincial general council on Tuesday.

READ: Free State ANC general council surrounded by controversy

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proved to be the firm favourite in the province, securing 209 nominations to Cyril Ramaphosa&39;s 44.

But there&39;s a twist.

A court stepped in, saying 29 branches did not follow the rules when they nominated candidates.

Research company MarkData interviewed hundreds of ANC voters during September and October.

Nearly half the respondents are backing Ramaphosa.

Dlamini-Zuma gets just under 20%.

Those figures suggest there&39;s a gap between ANC voters and the party&39;s branches.

North West is also presenting some apparent contradictions.

WATCH: North West ANC nominates Dlamini-Zuma for party president

Premier Supra Mahumapelo has repeatedly backed President Jacob Zuma.

He also has close ties with the Gupta family.

The president has endorsed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

But voters in this survey are not convinced.

Nearly 40% want Ramaphosa in the top job.

And once again, plenty of intrigue - 42% of voters refused to identify their preferred candidate.

READ: ANC in Mpumalanga prefer &39;unity&39; over choosing between CR17 and NDZ

Researchers say that number is extremely high with many voters afraid to reveal their true colours.

The ANC deputy president leads in 7 out of 8 provinces, polled so far.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the favourite in KwaZulu-Natal, claiming the lion&39;s share of support.

The province could have the biggest delegation at the conference, with nearly 20% of delegates expected to come from KZN.