City Press reports that loyal followers of President Jacob Zuma are launching a campaign for his third term.
It comes amid uncertainty relating to his successor within the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), in 2017.
But the paper said that those pushing for a third term “were merely testing the waters to see if it was safe to continue lobbying for an alternative candidate”.
The president is likely to step down, although he has remained silent on his preferred successor.
The proposal that Zuma extend his stay in office beyond 2017, was first raised by the North West ANC at its provincial general conference last year, with an aim to push the ANC to postpone its leadership elections until 2019.
A senior party leader close to North West ANC chairperson and Premier Supra Mahumapelo said the province was in the process of lobbying its counterparts in the ANC.
Secretary of the ANC Youth League in North West, Sipho Dial, told City Press that the provincial executive committee meeting on Monday will officially discuss the proposal for Zuma to lead the country until 2022.
Dial also mentioned that potential candidates in Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa would also be debated.
“We are just throwing this thing for ANC structures to have a discussion,” said Dial. He said he did not have a problem with Zuma being re-elected for a third term.
Additional provinces like Mpumalanga and Free State are also believed to share the view that Zuma should run for a third term, City Press said.
It was reported that the third-term campaign would be aimed at securing the financial interests and the survival of Zuma’s inner core.
“There was also a sense that people who did not want to have their conduct interrogated by a critical president after Zuma’s term would want to retain the status quo for a while,” City Press said.