President Jacob Zuma has supported the proposal by ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal that the loser of the elective conference in December should take the deputy president role.
Zuma has recommended two deputy presidents for the party to deal with factionalism.
Delivering his closing speech at the ANC's policy conference at Nasrec, Zuma said he was prepared to go from province to province to address branches on the need to have two deputies.
EWN's Stephen Grootes says the endorsement of this recommendation is a sign that Zuma could be concerned about deepening divisions in the party.
This suggests that he is very worried that the ANC is going to split in December, no matter who wins.— Stephen Grootes, senior EWN reporter
Zuma has emphasised the need for a stable and united party that deals decisively with corruption.
Grootes says the balance of power in the succession race appears to be shifting away from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma towards Cyril Ramaphosa's favour.
Take a listen to his analysis: