Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe stripped himself of the last possible leadership role in the ANC on Tuesday, after losing the race for the top position against President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma secured a second term as African National Congress leader alongside a new deputy, billionaire Cyril Ramaphosa.
Not only did Zuma's challenger lose the race for the presidency, but he also declared himself unavailable for the African National Congress national executive committee.
By Tuesday night, rumours were swirling around that Motlanthe would soon depart as the country's deputy president, but his spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, was unaware of this.
"I'm not aware of this, he hasn't said anything to me," Masebe told Sapa.
"Treat them [tweets] as rumours. For now he remains the deputy president of the republic."
Jacaranda FM on Tuesday evening wrote on the social networking site Twitter reports were emerging that "Kgalema to leave government immediately".
The soft-spoken Motlanthe was granted a unique opportunity to address the ruling party's 53rd national conference after losing the election, where he has spent the past three days listening to songs making fun of him.
"I want to thank the president for letting me speak after he had spoken [after being re-elected]," he said.
"Protocol does not allow that, and I feel very grateful."
He still believed in the integrity of the ANC, said Motlanthe, who observers believed challenged Zuma out of principle, in full knowledge that his support was not enough to win.
"One thing needs to be said and I want to say it with all the conviction of its truth," said Motlanthe, who had a spell as acting president between the recall of Thabo Mbeki and the election of Zuma.
"The African National Congress is the epitome of democracy. We must continue to campaign for democracy in our country and the world over."
Zuma appealed to delegates to strive for unity in the ruling party.
"Once ANC elections take place, we are all [bound] by the outcomes. Let us not say things that would make other comrades uncomfortable. Let's handle one another as fellow comrades," he said after his re-election.
ANC voters at the national elective conference in Mangaung seemed to stick closely to their slates in appointing Zuma and his allies into the party's top positions.
Zuma won the presidency with 2983 votes. Motlanthe got 991 votes.
In the race for deputy president, businessman Ramaphosa was elected. He received an overwhelming 3018 of the 3977 votes cast ousting Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale.
Delegates supporting Zuma and Ramaphosa could not contain their excitement as they sang and danced in celebration.
Current ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and chairperson Baleka Mbete retained their positions.
Former presidency spokesperson Jessie Duarte took the position of deputy secretary general unopposed.
KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Zweli Mkhize was elected the new treasurer general of the party, leaving Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile out of the ANC's top six leadership.
All those who stood for top six positions — Phosa, Mashatile, Sexwale and former deputy secretary general Thandi Modise — but did not make it were still nominated for a spot on the NEC.
Delegates nominated their preferred candidates for the NEC on Tuesday evening. More than 200 people were nominated.
Amongst those were former police commissioner Bheki Cele, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Frank Chikane and AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
A string of Cabinet members were also on the list but several high-profile ANC members declined nomination.
This included presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, Northern Cape chairperson John Block, and struggle stalwart Jay Naidoo.
Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim and National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni did not accept nomination.
Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule withdrew his nomination at the last minute.
The ANC will start voting for the NEC on Wednesday morning.