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ANC ‘more than ready’ for Mangaung

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By Jenni Evans

Johannesburg -

Bar two new provincial nomination conferences and some branch general meeting (BGM) reruns, the ANC is “more than ready” for its upcoming national conference, it said on Tuesday.

“It's going to be an exciting conference,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reported in the lobby of the party's headquarters in the Johannesburg CBD.

On Wednesday, the Western Cape and Limpopo will hold their provincial nomination conferences again, after both collapsed at the weekend.

This followed a decision by the party's national executive committee (NEC) on Monday to finalise preparations for the national conference in Mangaung later this month.

If the provinces fail to hold successful conferences they will forfeit the right to nominate candidates that way, and will have to nominate candidates from the floor at Mangaung.

The ANC said six NEC members would be sent to the Western Cape and six to Limpopo to facilitate the conference reruns.

NEC members would also attend the nomination conferences so they could readily confirm nominations.

Some branches had been directed to rerun their BGMs because of problems and had until Friday to do so.

“So we are not having an open season for BGMs... only those BGMs that have been directed to rerun,” said Mantashe.

At the provincial conferences, party members were meant to select candidates to stand for leadership posts at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung.

Besides Limpopo and Western Cape, North West's conference was also in danger of failing over factional discord about whether to support a “top six” team led by President Jacob Zuma, or by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who hold the same positions within the ANC.

In the North West, issues about the verification of branch delegates and a parallel conference were raised and a new conference at a new venue with both factions was held.

Mantashe said the North West's nominations were considered finalised.

He condemned an attack on North West provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge, who was shot at in Mmabatho on Friday, and hoped the police would bring the culprits to book.

In spite of the tumult, Mantashe predicted that the Mangaung conference would be “stable”, with no rowdiness.

“There is nothing that points to me that there will be rowdiness in Mangaung,” he said.

He could not predict whether there would be a motion from the floor to let expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema back into the ANC.

“It's not for me (to decide), it's (for) the floor, and I'm not the floor.”

Mantashe also said any prearranged outcome at the conference was not possible.

“It wouldn't happen.”

If it was possible, the ANC would only have had “three or four presidents” in its 100-year history, instead of the current 13, he said.

There would be lobbying attempts though.

Mantashe said making nominations from the floor at Mangaung was a way of changing the existing nominations.

“If your nomination is defeated, you have another chance to put up your nomination and put up 25 percent of support, so there is no train smash.”

He did not want to talk about the Free State, where six disgruntled members are challenging the composition of the provincial executive committee.

An anticipated 4500 voting delegates are expected to attend the conference, as are 850 media, workers and local and international guests.

Logistical arrangements were in place.

According to the programme adopted by the NEC, Zuma's political report and Mantashe's organisational will be delivered during an open session on the first day.

The financial report and constitutional amendments would me made in the first closed session of the conference.

The nominations and the announcements of election results of both the national officials and additional members of the NEC would be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission and an elections agency, also in open sessions. - Sapa

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