Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s hopes of becoming the country’s next president are dangling by a thread.

A high court case IS potentially spelling disaster for her political ambitions.

ANC leaders in at least two provinces are concerned that, come the party’s crucial national elective conference in December, the ANC current leadership in KwaZulu-Natal might not exist if the Pietermaritzburg High Court sides with rebel branches that claim the provincial elective conference was “rigged”.

The case could be crucial to Dlamini-Zuma’s hopes because, if the rebels win, the province may not be able to send delegates to the elective conference.

A verdict is expected in late September or early October.

The legitimacy of provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala, secretary Super Zuma and 38 others is being challenged by branches that backed Zikalala’s predecessor Senzo Mchunu at the controversial provincial conference in 2015.

The application is led by Vryheid councillor Lawrence Dube and four other ANC members representing 43 branches. They went to court in July last year to ask for a rerun.

Ahead of the court battle, the ANC in the province held talks with counterparts in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State to consolidate their common conference goals.

A Mpumalanga provincial working committee member said: “Here’s a province where our common candidate comes from and if we do not have this powerhouse in December, we might as well kiss our hopes goodbye. We only hope the court rules in their favour.”

At the last elective conference in Mangaung, KwaZulu-Natal had 974 of 4500 delegates. A Gauteng PEC member said it would be “worrisome” if KwaZulu-Natal were disqualified. A Free State ANC member said the province stood by their KwaZulu-Natal counterparts as “we have also travelled this road before”.