President Jacob Zuma speaking at a dinner function held at the University of Free State ahead of the 53rd congress of African National Congress in Mangaung, Free State Province15/12/12

Bloemfontein -

The marquee in Mangaung where the ANC is to hold its national conference vibrated with singing, the drone of vuvuzelas, whistling and feet stomping by noon on Sunday.

“We've heard the good news that the beard man (ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe) is going,” delegates from the North West sang.

The province also chanted “Zuma, Zuma, Zuma”.

The group of delegates from Limpopo joined the North West, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape in shouting for Zuma to get a second term.

A Limpopo delegate said: “Zuma for Limpopo. We want to show you that they robbed us (in Limpopo). We support Zuma's second term”.

“Limpopo for Zuma,” he shouted at journalists seated in front of him.

“I asked Motlanthe to decline (nomination),” another Limpopo delegate told Sapa.

Free State and Gauteng delegates sat watching quietly. The party's national executive committee watched from the stage.

Indications were that proceedings would get underway about three hours behind schedule.

The first item on the agenda, interfaith prayers, was supposed to have started at 8.30am. This would be followed by singing of the national anthem and the adoption of the conference programme and rules.

Zuma was supposed to have started delivering his political address at 9.30am. - Sapa