WATCH: Mantashe endorses Ramaphosa for ANC top job
Should Zuma resist handing power over to his deputy, warned Mantashe, there would be no smooth transition but rather "chaos" in the governing party.
Mantashe was speaking United Apostolic Church (UAAC) in Vhembe, Limpopo yesterday.
He cited examples of how the ANC has struggled to find peace in previous instances wherein the outgoing president resisted handing power over to their deputy.
A case in point, he said, was post 2007 Polokwane conference wherein former president Thabo Mbeki contested Zuma and was defeated, causing unprecedented divisions and a formation of a splinter party - Cope.
To avoid a repetition of the Polokwane aftermath, Mantashe suggested that Ramaphosa be allowed to elevate to the ANC top job.
Mantashe also took a veiled swipe at ANC presidential contender Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma saying: "The ANC will never elect a woman President. It will elect a President of the ANC, male or female."
According to reports, Dlamini-Zuma hitback at Mantashe;s endorsement of Ramaphosa immediately accusing the SG of not being a "true cadre of the ANC".
Dlamini-Zuma was quoted as saying: " ANC elections are a democratic process that is done by the branches of the ANC, anyone who predicts chaos in the ANC when the branches are exercising their democratic right is not a true cadre of the ANC."