Maryna van Wyk
The venue for the much-anticipated ANC national conference in Mangaung has been announced shortly after a meeting of the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) at Koppies Dam Nature Reserve at the weekend.
The conference, which will attract about 4500 delegates from all branches in the nine provinces, will take place at the cricket oval of the Free State University.
The conference will commence on December 16 and end five days later on December 20, by which time South Africans will be introduced to the newly elected leadership of the party.
Many in the party have been describing the forthcoming elective conference not only as a watershed event in terms of policies, but also as the fiercest in the history of the ANC regarding the challenge to relieve Jacob Zuma of the presidency.
However, South African will only know in the next few weeks which candidates have been nominated to oppose Zuma, as the nomination phase for candidates in the leadership structure opens today.
It has been speculated that Zuma, who will be nominated by his supporters, will have at least one opponent in Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, the favourite candidate for the regime change faction within the ANC.
The secretary of the ANC in the Free State, William Bulwane, said on Saturday at the Koppies Dam resort that the PEC meeting was dominated by discussions on the preparation for the ANC National Conference in December.
“We adopted the auditing report from the secretary-general and officially opened the nomination process for the ANC leadership to be elected at the conference,” he said.
He urged that the process be conducted in a responsible and respectful manner and that all members should refrain from insults.
Bulwane said the PEC looked at its operations and whether the party was still on track in terms of programmes of action regarding interaction with all branches.
“We are also looking forward to the coming elections,” he said.
Bulwane said the PEC acknowledged the postponement of the high court case in which the regime-change faction in the Free State made several applications to have the provincial elective structure annulled.
“There is no political basis to suggest the elective conference in Parys was illegitimate.
“These people who are taking us to court have not much ground to stand on.
“We are confident of the outcome,” he said.