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Many ANC Eastern Cape delegates to the party's provincial nominations conference wore yellow T-shirts bearing President Jacob Zuma's image on Friday.
They sang hymns and bowed their heads for prayer as the conference got under way at the University of Fort Hare on Friday afternoon.
Provincial chairman Phumulo Masualle, who opened the meeting around 12.30pm, told journalists earlier he “wasn't sure” how long the nomination process for leaders, ahead of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December, would take.
“The finish depends on the process,” he said.
“You do not know. Maybe we have to do two rounds of voting to confirm who the candidates will be.”
Masualle said the party should finish nominating its top six leaders on Friday.
The conference was scheduled to start on Thursday, but Masaulle said it was delayed to allow for more time to verify delegates from the party's 613 branches.
“In terms of the rules of the electoral processes, the branches whose delegates had not passed verification will still continue with the verification exercise,” he said.
Earlier this month, the ANC in the Eastern Cape was hit by reports of “ghost members” on its membership books.
The regional secretary for the Alfred Nzo area, Sicelo Bani, told the Dispatch newspaper on Friday that region had 79 branches, of which only 63 had passed the verification process.
OR Tambo regional secretary Jackson Sabona, said his locality had been experiencing similar problems.
“We discovered some delegates' names do not appear in the registration list,” he said.
The conference comes after the ANC said it would not recognise a unanimous vote by the OR Tambo region in Mthatha for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the party.
Provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the meeting of the ANC's second-largest region was “irregular” and “not properly convened”.
“So many branches in that region were stuck with disputes,” he said.
“Regions are allowed to hold such meetings. For the purposes of this conference, that meeting was out of equation in terms of guidelines.”
All 107 delegates at the regional meeting had supported Motlanthe to take over as ANC president, with Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale as his deputy, and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula as secretary general. - Sapa