JOHANNESBURG, South African and African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Member of Parliament Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have both been nominated for the party's presidency and South Africans will most likely find out Monday who the new leader will be.

The election process started late on Sunday afternoon for the top six positions of the ANC with blocks of 200 delegates allowed to vote. The election started late after the outgoing deputy secretary-general, Jesse Duarte, earlier announced that the number of delegates had been reduced by 517 after the verification process and the three court cases which ruled that the Provincial Executive Committee and branches in the provinces of Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and North West were unlawfully constituted.

The nominations of the top six of the ANC were then announced but not without a few surprises, including the nomination of ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize for deputy president.

North West Province was the biggest loser during the verification and disqualification process, with 92 of its original 538 delegates dropped. Next was Limpopo Province with 76 delegates disqualified followed by Gauteng {rpvomce with 70 delegates. Northern Cape Province lost only four delegates followed by the ANC Veterans League who lost five names.

Despite the integrity of branches in Mpumalanga Province being questioned, that province only lost 28 delegates. The winning candidate will now have to secure 2,389 votes to win out of the total of 4,776 voting delegates.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says the lost 517 votes will most likely have no effect on the end result of the vote. However, if candidates withdrew their availability to stand for the positions, their supporters might still turn the race around.

The biggest question is where they throw their support because that becomes important even if marginalised and also behind the scenes there is a lot of persuasion and others are trying to read who has the momentum. And if there is a signal that this candidate has the momentum the last minute many people can be swayed in that direction.

Changes to the ANC's Constitution were discussed during a closed plenary session. The structure of branches, regions as well as that of the National Executive Committee (NEC) was debated. A member of the Constitutional Amendments Committee of the ANC, Saul Zamani, believes the NEC's structure will not change.

It's quite clear with my own assessment during plenary, it is quite clear the issue of the two deputy secretaries-general won't be able to survive and will be kicked out as well because I don't think the people who are tabling the proposals will be able to get the constitutional requirement of the two thirds majority and in order to add another secretary-general you need a two thirds majority and it is quite clear that two third majority is elusive and they won't be able to get it.

The 54th ANC National Elective Congress started seven hours late on the first day and the second was no different. Duarte, however, said they are determined to finish the congress by Thursday.

The nomination process for the top six positions was certainly not a smooth flowing operation as it was preceded by the adoption of conference credentials earlier on Sunday, almost a day late.

Nominations for the party's top brass saw delegates engaged in robust debates, which were a culmination of disagreements around the nomination process for the NEC. The argument centred around the party's electoral committee announcing its opposition to delegates carrying lists into voting booths.

Although the nominations for the NEC are only scheduled to take place on Monday morning after the announcement of the top six, it was this debate that temporarily put a halt on the nominations for the party's top leadership.

After much deliberation, outgoing ANC Chairperson Baleka Mbete decided that delegates should proceed with the nomination process, leaving the debate on the nomination of the NEC members to Monday. The top six nominations process did not spare any drama. There were several last minute withdrawals from the race for some, including by Naledi Pandor, Zweli Mkhize and Nomvula Mokonyane.

The final nominations saw deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and MP Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma leading the race to lead the party.

Other members who have been nominated include Lindiwe Sisulu, David Mabuza and Zweli Mkhize for the deputy president. Gwede Mantashe and Nathi Mthethwa were nominated for the position of National Chairperson. Jessie Duarte and Zingiswa Loso were nominated for the Deputy Secretary-General.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Paul Mashatile were nominated for Treasurer General, Senzo Mchunu and Ace Magashule were nominated for Secretary-General.