Outgoing ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane and provincial chairman Phumulo Masualle during a press briefing in Port Elizabeth on Friday morning ahead of the ANC's Eastern Cape provincial conference. Picture: ANA

Port Elizabeth - The African National Congress' Eastern Cape provincial conference got off to a slow start on Friday as efforts were made to ensure the credibility of the process.

The provincial leadership was locked in a meeting with ANC National Executive Committee member Zizi Kodwa, which according to outgoing provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane, was to ensure the credibility of the process. 

"The meeting was to make sure we adhere to the ANC constitution and clear everything that needed to be cleared," said Mabuyane.

ANC provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle said although the party had done everything to ensure smooth proceedings, there would be members who would be unhappy about the processes that have taken place leading up to the provincial conference. 

Masualle said: "Right across, there were matters that with the assistance of NEC we had them validated, issues that needed clarity were clarified."

The party said it has taken precautions after what happened in KwaZulu-Natal where the results from a previous elective conference was recently annulled by a High Court ruling. 

It wanted to prevent a similar occurrence at the Eastern Cape provincial congress. 

Kodwa, who was representing the ANC NEC, said the national leadership was satisfied with what the Eastern Cape had done up to this point. "This is not an elective conference but a provincial conference, election is one item on a programme. This conference must continue to restore confidence of our people to the ANC and it must inspire hope in our people, whatever happens must achieve both."

The delays saw the scheduled media briefing taking place four hours behind schedule. 

Hundreds of the party delegates from 568 branches have been descending at East London's Orient Theatre where the registration was still taking place into the early hours of Friday morning. 

The ANC is expecting about 1 700 branch delegates, which according to Masualle is more than the required 70 percent for the conference to convene. 

The conference would see the Masualle going up against Mabuyane for the position of provincial chairman. 

During the media briefing the two leaders downplayed the contestation but outside the registration venue groups of delegates chanted songs in support of both Masualle and Mabuyane.