17/07/2017 09:02 BST | Updated 17/07/2017 09:32 BST

ANC Race: Lindiwe Sisulu, Mathews Phosa To Challenge Front-Runners For Party Leadership

Mathews Phosa called for President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet to go on Saturday and officially accepted a branch nomination for ANC president.

Former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu both accepted branch nominations for party president over the weekend.

Both candidates join Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete and frontrunners Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the race for the governing party's top spot ahead of the December elective conference.

Phosa on Sunday accepted the nomination from a Port Elizabeth ANC branch and was previously endorsed by several branches in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. He delivered a keynote address at the OR Tambo memorial lecture at Kuyga Community Hall where he said South Africa, in addition to having three arms of state, has a fourth centre of power -- the Gupta family.

"I am tempted to cynically add that we now have a fourth, that of the privileged and protected Saxonwold plunderers of the resources of our land," Phosa said according to TimesLive.

'I will commit every ounce of my body to representing them well'

Meanwhile on Saturday, Sisulu's campaign for the presidency kicked off in East London at an ANC Women's League forum. Sisulu has been lobbying support in recent months from several branches in the Eastern and Western Cape as well as KwaZulu-Natal.

The daughter of ANC struggle stalwarts Albertina and Walter Sisulu told eNCA on Saturday she had been "crucified for a long time" and initially put off the possibility of nomination for the presidency. After thinking it through, she said she came to the conclusion that "if all of us believe the ANC is in a bad space, there ought to be people who are... available to help in whichever way".

Agreeing to the nomination from the branches, Sisulu said she would commit "every ounce of my body to ensuring I represent them well".

"If we succeed in December, then we have a long road to travel to return the character of the ANC to what we knew it to be, to return the dignity of the organisation, and to ensure that everybody who sees us sees hope in us so that by 2019 we can return a majority to the ANC".

Sisulu, meanwhile, has been roped into a scandal over R10 million expenditure on flowers and gifts in the Department of Human Settlements in the 2013/4 financial year.

On Sunday, the DA's spokesperson for human settlements, Solly Malatsi, said Sisulu and her department "need to explain why such an excessive amount of money was spent on gifts when it could have been used to address the housing backlog and could have built 100 RDP houses". Malatsi also said the party wants her department to make public the full list of people who benefited from the millions of rands spent.

The ANC's elective conference will take place in December where the incumbent president, Zuma, will conclude his term and hand over the reigns to the next party president.