The rand strengthened more than 1.8% on Friday to below R13.30 to the US dollar amid optimism that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would be victorious in the race for ANC president.

By 16:38 the local unit was trading at R13.26 to the greenback from an intraday low of R13.52 and an overnight close of R13.50/$.

The campaign of Ramaphosa’s strongest opponent Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was dealt a triple blow when courts in Bloemfontein (Free State), Pietermaritzburg (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Bonjala region (North West) ruled against branches in those regions.

All the decisions come on the eve of the start of the ANC’s national elective conference on Saturday and the vote for party leader on Sunday evening.

“There is a general optimism in the market that Cyril Ramaphosa is looking like the likely winner of the ANC conference, this after the court decisions about North West and KZN that seem to have dealt a blow for the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma campaign,” said TreasuryOne currency dealer Wichard Cilliers.

“We are still of the opinion that it is too close to call and either party can still win the conference,” he told Fin24 by email.

News24 reports that the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein barred several branches from attending the national elective conference after the court nullified the party’s provincial conference.

In Pietermaritzburg, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court granted an application for leave to appeal, brought by the provincial executive committee (PEC) of the ANC, which is led by chairperson Sihle Zikalala.

However, Judge Rishi Seegobin effectively ruled that the PEC would remain dissolved, pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal and any subsequent appeal to the Constitutional Court.

This means that the PEC, which supports Dlamini-Zuma, will lose its 27 voting rights allocated to each province for the ANC’s national elective conference.

Meanwhile, in North West disgruntled ANC members won their court challenge to have the Bojanala regional conference nullified.

The group went to court asking for an order to set aside the 40-branch general meeting and to nullify the regional conference held on September 24.

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