An ANC supporter holds a flag of the ANC while the President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC Gauteng Cadre Assembly in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Eastern Cape - Registration for the ANC's OR Tambo elective conference in the Eastern Cape began at 9am on Saturday, a party official said.

“We are ready for the conference today,” provincial spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane said.

“By latest 12 or 12:30 all delegates should be registered... and immediately after lunch, the conference will start.”

The provincial executive committee (PEC) had appointed a committee to keep an eye on proceedings.

African National Congress leaders in the Eastern Cape took control of the OR Tambo region earlier this month after its regional conference was adjourned before new leaders could be elected. There were allegations that membership figures were inflated, and that there were several “ghost” delegates.

The electoral commission at the conference discovered that votes were cast by 591 delegates, instead of the 587 adopted by the plenary. The PEC adjourned the conference afterwards.

Unnamed sources in the conference reportedly said earlier regional chair Thandekile Sabisa defeated his challenger William Ngozi by 296 votes to 295.

Sabisa was allegedly pushing for a change in the national leadership, while Ngozi was allegedly part of group lobbying for a second term for President Jacob Zuma.

The outcome of the region's election would be integral to Zuma's bid to retain the leadership of the party at its national congress in Mangaung in December.

The region is the largest in the Eastern Cape, and the second largest ANC region in the country, after eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal Ä Zuma's home province.- Sapa