Moves are afoot among supporters of newly elected Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile and ANC Youth League leaders to look for a new leader to replace Jacob Zuma at the 2012 party conference. Some senior party leaders have steadily lost confidence in Zuma since his election as ANC president at Polokwane in 2007, and even his traditional support base in the youth league is having second thoughts. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), however, appear to be wavering on the matter. Supporters of Mashatile are planning to lobby for a new leader to replace Zuma as party president. And the Mail & Guardian has established that, in a related anti-Zuma move, Mashatile supporters also want Joel Netshitenzhe -- ANC national executive committee member and former head of policy in the Presidency -- to replace Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary general during the party's elective conference at Mangaung in 2012. Zuma has hinted that he is available for another term, but the Mashatile group is punting Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale as the strongest contenders to replace him. Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's name has also been mentioned. Mashatile was believed to have supported Sexwale for president before the 2007 ANC Polokwane conference but his own province defied him by opting for Zuma. In an interview with Business Day this week, Mashatile said no one, including Zuma, was guaranteed re-election in 2012. "I have not made a choice at this stage. I support the current leadership, but for 2012 no one is guaranteed," he was quoted as saying. The youth league's second thoughts on Zuma follow the ANC disciplinary committee's ruling this week that league president Julius Malema must apologise for behaviour that provoked division and a breakdown of unity within the party. He was cleared of three other charges. Sources close to Malema say he is smarting from what he regards as Zuma's public humiliation of him and that the league is therefore unlikely to throw its support behind Zuma. The league has already indicated its support for Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to take over as ANC secretary general. The M&G understands the league will now intensify this campaign.