ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party's provincial conference in Gauteng. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Delegates have started streaming in at the ANC Gauteng provincial conference, with a delayed start to Friday morning's proceedings. The party is holding its 13th provincial conference in Tshwane which is expected to run until Sunday, where new leaders will be announced.

About 1600 delegates are expected to attend from the province’s five regions. ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give the opening address at the gathering. The theme for the conference is "Unity integrity, service and renewal; hundred years of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu”. 

Delegates arrived to find a tight security protocol in place.

Security staff at the entrance to the venue searched vehicles and confiscated items such as liquor.

"We are very strict, no rowdiness will be tolerated. Anything that looks like a potential weapon is alcohol is allowed inside too," said one of the ANC security personnel at the entrance.

Groups of delegates sang inside plenary hall, whiling away time. The singing and chanting increased as the Ekurhuleni region walked. Ekurhuleni has the most delegates of just over 300.

It has not been an easy road for the province as it has had to fight off legal battles from its disgruntled members. On Wednesday, the South Gauteng High Court dismissed a last-minute bid to halt the conference by members in Ekruhuleni, which is the province’s largest region with 311 delegates expected to attend. 

The members wanted the court to grant an interdict to halt the provincial conference until their review application was heard. The court rejected the case for a lack of urgency. The leadership battle at the conference is expected to be tense with prominent members vying for leadership positions. 

Pictures: Comrades excited to kick start the Conference #ANCGP #ANCPROVCONF

— ANC Greater Johannesburg Region (@ANCJHB) July 20, 2018

Pictures: comrades from the region waiting to start the #ANCGP #ANCPROVCONF

— ANC Greater Johannesburg Region (@ANCJHB) July 20, 2018

Pictures: @MYANC Spokesperson Cde Pule Mabe visiting merchandisers #ANCGP #ANCPROVCONF @GautengANC

— ANC Greater Johannesburg Region (@ANCJHB) July 20, 2018

Gauteng Premier and current acting chairperson David Makhura is vying for the chairperson position, and he is expected to be elected unopposed. Economic development MEC Lebogang Maile is competing to elected as deputy chair along with former Joburg Mayor Parks Tau.

Others vying for positions include Emfuleni Mayor Jacob Khawe for provincial secretary, a position currently held by Hope Papo who also hopes to be re-elected. Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has been endorsed to elected provincial treasurer.