The ANC could elect to support an IFP mayor in the City of Johannesburg, party insiders told News24, saying talks between the party and the IFP were at an advanced stage.
IFP Gauteng chairperson Bonginkosi Dlamini is understood to be the front runner as outgoing mayor Herman Mashaba's replacement.
"That is the idea. The objective is to take power away from the governing party in the City. We will maintain help steering the City from within the mayoral committees," one party insider, who sits in the council, said.
In the past, the ANC has voted for a mayor from smaller parties to ensure a balance of power in a coalition metro.
In Nelson Mandela Bay, with 50 seats, the party voted to install mayor Mongameli Bobani from the UDM. Following the composition of Bobani's new mayoral committee, the ANC controlled almost all key portfolios in that council, including the City's finances.
In Johannesburg, the ANC has the most seats (121) and, with the help of the IFP's five seats and its partners in council - the AIC (4), Patriotic Alliance (1) and Aljama (1) – the DA could lose its hold over the city.
This could also be the case if the EFF, which has 30 seats, goes ahead with its decision to field its own candidate for Johannesburg mayor.
The red berets have maintained the role of kingmaker in the City over the years.
On Thursday, EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC and the DA should get behind its candidate for mayor.
The DA, which has had a series of leadership challenges resulting in Mashaba's resignation, announced this week that Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni was its mayoral candidate.
It's also understood that ANC secretary general Ace Magashule will meet with the IFP's leadership on Monday to discuss the final terms of the negotiations, another party insider said.
A Johannesburg councillor told News24 that while the ANC had previously been keen to field one of its smaller partners in the seat of power in the country's economic hub, its own members seem to have started eyeing the role for themselves.
The ANC has worked at building relations with the IFP throughout the year, with it electing IFP Member of Parliament Mkhuleko Hlengwa as the chairperson of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
In Gauteng, it backed IFP leader Bonginkosi Dlamini as chairperson of the premier's oversight committee in the provincial legislature.
With the loss of both Mashaba and the EFF, its biggest voting partner in Johannesburg, the DA is set for a fierce battle to hang onto the metro.
The City is expected to hold a sitting to elect a new mayor on November 28.
ANC acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete was unable to confirm Monday's meeting at the time of publishing.