Parys – The ANC in the Free State has nominated former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate to become the ANC president when Jacob Zuma steps down in two weeks' time. This is the first province to officially put its weight behind what could potentially become the ANC and the country's first female president. The provincial general council (PGC), which was scheduled to start at 11:00 only kicked off after 16:30, with the provincial leadership blaming independent electoral agency Elexions for the delay. David "DD" Mabuza, who is a chairperson of the party in Mpumalanga, emerged as the province's favourite to take over from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Free State's own chairperson, Premier Ace Magashule, was nominated for secretary-general, while the current deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was nominated to retain her post. Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was nominated for chairperson. ANC Women's League (ANCWL) treasurer Maite Nkoana-Mashabane received the nod for treasurer-general of the party. The slate is similar to that of the ANCWL and the ANC Youth League. Magashule, however, refused to reveal how many votes each candidate received, telling journalists it would take a while to consolidate the numbers. Media was also not allowed in during the counting process but was called in to hear the names of the top six officials as they were being announced. Two insiders told News24 that Dlamini-Zuma received 209 nominations, while Ramaphosa only managed 44. Mabuza got 204 nods, while Lindiwe Sisulu received 28 and Magashule received an overwhelming 216 nominations from the branches. Senzo Mchunu, who is on Ramaphosa's slate received 36.Nomination list:1. President - NDZ 209; CR 44 2. Deputy President - Mabuza 204; Sisulu 28 3. National Chair - Nathi 103; Mantashe 57 3. Secretary General - Magashule 216; Senzo 36 4. Dep SG - Duarte 168; Mashatile 5.Absent deputyThe PGC, which some told News24 came as a surprise when the province announced it on Monday afternoon, took place without Magashule's deputy Thabo Manyoni, who is expected to challenge him for the position of chairperson at the provincial elective congress on Friday. Manyoni told Talk Radio 702 earlier that he was boycotting the PGC – a move which was supported by several other delegates in the province. Magashule told delegates that he and Manyoni had no issues and that Manyoni had excused himself from the sitting and was in Pretoria. "Don't worry about Manyoni, he is my brother," said Magashule, assuring delegates that he and his deputy were "solid".