The ANC’s dismal local elections performance has fuelled calls for the party’s old guard to step aside and make way for a new generation of young leaders. Factions in the ruling party this week confirmed that the election results have reignited the succession debate ahead of the party’s 2017 elective conference.

One group, which backs African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next ANC president, is touting Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba as her deputy and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula or Gauteng Premier David Makhura as a replacement for Gwede Mantashe, the ANC’s current secretary general.

This group believes that Dlamini-Zuma as party president would best bridge the transition between the old and the new guard – but, after that, they want Gigaba to take over the reins.

“When you have a society that is young, the organisation needs to be young. We need new ideas to reposition the organisation,” said ANC Youth League secretary general Njabulo Nzuza.

The ruling party suffered a major blow in this year’s local government elections, managing just 54.5% of this year’s vote against the 62% it won in 2011 and losing control of key metros such as Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.