Kgalema Motlanthe, the man tapped to be South Africa's caretaker president, is seen as a strong supporter of ruling party leader Jacob Zuma.
He is among the ANC leaders who believe Zuma was unfairly targeted by South Africa's prosecuting authority with corruption charges.
Motlanthe is widely seen as a left-leaning intellectual who enjoys broad support among factions of the ANC because of his calm approach to party disagreements.
Motlanthe, who is believed to have been born in 1949, came to the ANC through the Black Consciousness Movement of slain activist Steve Biko. He was jailed by the apartheid government for his political activities for about 10 years.
While in jail he forged relationships with several ANC leaders, clearing the way for his role in the organization. After his release from prison he joined the trade union movement, and became secretary-general of the National Union of Mineworkers.
In 1997 he was elected secretary-general of the ANC, and last year became the party's deputy president.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.