ANC conference delayed


An hour after the ANC's conference was supposed to start on Sunday morning, delegates were still queuing outside the University of the Free State.

ANC leader Jacob Zuma is now scheduled to deliver his political report to the conference at 11.30am.

Spirits were high among members dressed in black and white African National Congress T-shirts.

"We have arrived. We are members of Umkhonto. The bazooka is going to shoot," they sang in isiZulu.

Most of the delegates held up two fingers, signifying a second term for President Jacob Zuma. One woman was rolling her hands, signalling a call for a change in leadership.

Delegates also sang: "The day has arrived which we have been longing for. We know who we are going to elect."

Zuma had been scheduled to deliver his political report to the conference at 9.30am. Because of the delay he was expected to speak at 11.30am.

On Sunday night delegates would nominate their preferred candidates for the party's top six officials. The electoral commission would then reveal who had accepted nomination. Delegates would also get to nominate candidates from the floor, provided that 25% of those present supported this.

Long night

Earlier, some tired-looking members arrived at the venue carrying their luggage.

"It has been a long night. We got accredited just after midnight after travelling for hours to come here," a delegate from the Eastern Cape said.

A group from Limpopo said they were still going to find their rooms on the campus.

"I am tired. I was up most of the night ... but there was no way I would miss this conference," said one delegate from the group.

Minutes later two groups arrived at the campus' main security checkpoint, one singing songs supporting Zuma while another chanted deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe's name.

Police at the checkpoint instructed them to stop singing as they approached the entrance.

"Order, order please, stop singing. You are not allowed to do that at this point," a police officer shouted.

Instead of singing delegates hummed their songs after going through the security checks. - Sapa

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