When the ANC battles itself in Limpopo and North West, it's Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters that wins.
Cracks have emerged in President Jacob Zuma's camps in Limpopo and the North West as ANC leaders battle for top positions in both the party and government.
After Mangaung, the victorious Zuma faction showed no mercy and purged supporters of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who ran for the position of ANC president and lost to Zuma.
But it appears that the glue that held the Zuma camp together before Mangaung is no longer holding. There are fears that the leadership tensions in the two provinces might drive some ANC members to join Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters, which has a strong presence in both provinces.
Premier Stan Mathabatha and the public works MEC, Dickson Masemolo, are both key Zuma allies but will go head to head for the position of ANC provincial chairperson, which was left vacant by Cassel Mathale in December.
Support for the two leaders will be revealed by the outcome of the provincial list conference, which started on Thursday, and four regional conferences, which begin on Friday.
Tensions between Masemola and Mathabatha reached boiling point last weekend when leaders from both camps exchanged blows outside the ANC offices in Polokwane.
Both leaders are being pushed by their factions for the number one spot on the provincial list. Whoever wins stands a good chance of becoming premier after next year's elections and possibly ANC chairperson in December.
Masemola took many by surprise when he cut ties with the Mathale faction to throw his weight behind Zuma to be re-elected ANC president before the Mangaung conference last December.
Until Mathabatha's appointment, Masemola, who served as ANC deputy provincial chairperson during Mathale's time, was tipped as the automatic successor to Mathale for both the position of premier and ANC provincial chairperson.
ANC insiders, who spoke to the Mail & Guardian on condition of anonymity this week, said Luthuli House had passed over Masemola for the position of premier earlier this year to manage public perception that the party was not serious about fighting corruption.
As provincial education MEC, Masemola presided over the textbook scandal and his department was put under administration after the national treasury found maladministration was rife in his department.
Although Mathabatha was seen as someone who could restore the integrity of the ANC and the provincial government, ANC insiders said his handling of the crisis in Malamulele, where the residents were demanding their own municipality, did not impress Luthuli House.
Mathabatha said on national television that the residents were right to demand their own municipality and that the ANC would consider their demands.
"He was summoned to Luthuli House to explain himself. He contradicted the position of the ANC on Malamulele.
"He is making the same mistake as former provincial and local government minister [MEC] Richard Baloyi. He promised people their own municipality without checking with the office of the secretary general.
"He should have at least checked with the demarcation board before he made public pronouncements," said the ANC leader, who preferred to remain anonymous.
Those supporting Masemola includes former Cosatu provincial secretary Dan Sebabi, who is vying to become ANC provincial secretary, and former ANC Mopani chairperson Joshua Matlou, who wants to be deputy provincial chairperson. Mathabatha's line-up includes former provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane, who is contesting the position again.
Most of the branches that supported Mathale are now throwing their weight behind Masemola and those who were opposed to Mathale are supporting Mathabatha.
Supporters of Zuma in North West go to this weekend's provincial general council (PGC) a fractured force, all because of power struggles.
The group who was united under provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo in support of Zuma and who had successfully marginalised the faction that opposed Zuma is now falling apart.
This threatens its hold on power in the province, with an alliance of convenience being formed by some parties with a faction that has been involved in a power struggle with Mahumapelo.
The North West ANC leadership has been running with only two of five officials for the best part of this year - Mahumapelo and the deputy provincial secretary, Gordon Kegakilwe, who has been acting secretary.
But they have parted ways, allegedly because of a disagreement over the candidate for the position of secretary.
Kegakilwe's new faction is said to be working with a group who supported the former provincial secretary, Kabelo Mataboge.
According to two members who broke away from the Mahumapelo faction, several provincial executive committee (PEC) members walked out with Kegakilwe, including the former provincial spokesperson, Kenny Morolong, and a national executive committee member (NEC), Pinky Moloi , who was a North West PEC member before being elected to the NEC in Mangaung.
This weekend's PGC will show which leader - Mahumapelo or Kegakilwe - is the most popular among ANC members in the province. Mahumapelo is topping the list for the provincial government's leadership after next year's elections and Kegakilwe has been placed fourth.
At the PGC, Kegakilwe will come up against a Tlokwe municipality councillor, Dakota Legwete, for the position of secretary; Linah Miga, who is in Kegakilwe's camp, will vie with the MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Manketse Tlhape, for the position of deputy secretary; and Gugu Mtshali will face off against the former ANC Women's League provincial co-ordinator, Suzan Tsebe, for the position of treasurer.
"They have dumped Supra because they believe he is destroying the ANC, and North West is not growing or developing because of his dictating tactics," said a pro-leadership change member who is now working with Kegakilwe's group.
A PEC member who asked to remain anonymous said the latest divisions were caused by Mahumapelo's deviation from an agreement that Kegakilwe would be the PEC's candidate for secretary position.
"When Kabelo was suspended, we were all united. The understanding was that Gordon would continue until the end of the term but Supra now brought Dakota in through a back door," said the PEC member.
The PEC member said the divisions are a setback for the Zuma camp in the province.
"We were almost controlling the whole province but dishonesty divided us."
Depending on who emerges victorious at this weekend's PGC, the North West ANC is likely to paper over the cracks to try to present a united force for next elections' campaign.
"The posture of the victor is the one that will guide us," said a member of the new faction.
"We should be able to know if attitudes are hardened or not. If they [Mahumapelo's camp] change, there might be a negotiated settlement."
Legwete denied he was encouraged by Mahumapelo to stand for the secretary position. "I was proposed by the Bojanala region but I have not accepted any nomination. I'll make that decision at the conference."
Mahumapelo's detractors also accuse him of intentionally delaying the Dr Ruth Mompati and Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional conferences because he knew his support was not intact in the two regions. Only Bojanala and Ngaka Modiri Molema held their conferences, with Mahumapelo's faction winning Bojanala and Kegakilwe's group taking Ngaka Modiri Molema.
Morolong denied that he had broken ranks with Mahumapelo, describing the allegations "ludicrous, devoid of any truth and intending on casting doubts on the leadership of our province".