Media were scheduled to have a meeting with organisers on Saturday morning but on arrival they were refused entrance onto the campus.
Reporters had to park their cars outside campus and walk.
All entrances to the university were guarded by police officers.
Police at the entrances said cars needed to be searched and checked at the Tempe Military Base. Each vehicle would then receive a clearance sticker which would allow them access to the campus.
Service providers and ambulances were also turned away because they did not have clearance stickers.
The conference officially starts on Sunday.
Swanky smoking section
Meanwhile a tent, reminiscent of a stylish cocktail lounge, has been set up as the smoking room for journalists at the conference.
The airconditioned perspex-walled marquee was filled with black and white sofas, chairs and ottomans with a scattering of throw pillows, and grey-color shaggy carpets.
Amongst the sofas were white tables, with British American Tobacco branding, and bar stools. On each table was a vase with red plastic flowers inside.
Reporters were so impressed by the room that even the non-smokers said they would spend time in there.
An ANC official said the room was sponsored.
Two cigarette vending machines and water coolers had been placed in the tent.
There was also flat screen televisions where the media could watch DStv. – Sapa