The ANC has opened the nomination process for its elective conference in Mangaung, which could see President Jacob Zuma's leadership challenged.
"The nomination process was endorsed by the national executive committee on Friday and the nomination process was opened," spokesperson Keith Khoza said on Saturday.
"It is necessary that the process must unfold… Members can now nominate for all the leadership positions in all the provinces and the nomination process ends in November."
The African National Congress held a special national executive committee meeting in Midrand, Johannesburg on Friday.
Khoza said no branches were disqualified but said that 631 branches did not meet the criteria and were "not in good standing" therefore they would not send any representatives to Manguang.
According to the Saturday Star, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the membership of the ruling party had increased to 1 220 057.
Khoza said Friday's meeting ran late as the party was discussing certain issues.
"The report was received well and the meeting discussed the breakdown in terms of delegates in each branch," he said.
He added that the nomination process was opened earlier than expected because "the issue was finalised" and he stated that no branch meeting would be called over the weekend.
Beeld newspaper reported that after the party's audit KwaZulu-Natal had 331 820 members while the Eastern Cape stood at 187 585. Limpopo had 161 686, Gauteng 134 909 and Mpumalanga 132 729.
The Saturday Star reported that KwaZulu-Natal saw an increase of around 90 000 members since January. The Eastern Cape membership had dropped significantly.
Free State had 121 074 members, North West 75 145, Western Cape 38 428 and the Northern Cape 36 428.
When asked about the increase in membership in KwaZulu-Natal and the decrease in the Eastern Cape, Khoza said: "Those are the only provinces that can explain that. I can't explain that."
The opening of the nomination process meant that ANC members, branches and provinces could now openly speak about who they want to lead the party for the next five years.
About 4 500 of the 1.2-million ANC members was expected to attend the elective congress in December.
All 3 687 branches would be represented.
The breakdown of the number of delegates that would be sent to Manguang is worked out with a formula and would be announced on Tuesday, Khoza said. – Sapa