Intense last-minute horse-trading talks are expected to continue until voting begins in the much-anticipated City of Johannesburg mayoral elections on Thursday.
The EFF, DA and ANC have each fielded their own candidates to take over from former mayor Herman Mashaba.
Mashaba, who served his last day on Wednesday, resigned in October following the DA's election of former leader Helen Zille as federal council chairperson.
News24 has spoken to several political parties and politicians in the council. Some were still engaging in negotiations and caucus meetings last night to finalise inter-party deals.
The ANC has made it clear it wants to reclaim the leadership of the City, which it lost to the DA in a humiliating and humbling loss in the 2016 local government elections.
The DA, which held on to the position for more than three years under the stewardship of Mashaba, a coalition with smaller parties and a tenuous agreement with the EFF, has also suffered a litany of body blows recently.
With the resignation of its former leader Mmusi Maimane and Mashaba, the party has seemingly lost favour with the red berets.
On Wednesday, DA Gauteng official Mike Moriarty told News24 the EFF had not been open to any talks with the DA.
Moriarty's comments came almost a week after EFF leader Julius Malema, who butted heads with Zille in the past, told journalists he would never work with a "white DA".
The ANC, which holds a majority in the council with 122 seats, had recently been locked in back-to-back meetings to determine its preferred candidate.
The ANC will need 135 plus one votes to reclaim control.
What we know so far
Which party has the most seats in council?
The ANC has 122 seats, followed by the DA with 103, while the EFF has 30 councillors to rely on. Of the so-called smaller parties, the IFP has five seats, the AIC four and six parties have one seat each.
Can one party win the vote on their own?
No. With a total of 270 seats, a party would have to secure 135 plus one votes to ensure victory for its candidate. No single party can achieve this without entering into a coalition with more than one other organisation or agreeing to a co-operation deal.
How will the election take place?
With the ANC, DA and EFF each fielding their own candidate councillors will take to voting. If no candidate wins an outright victory (136 votes or more) it proceeds to a second round of voting, with the politician who receives the least number of votes falling out of the race. Round Two will then be a straight shootout between the two remaining candidates.