/ 18 January 2008

Unclear whether Mbeki will attend ANC meet

It was unclear on Friday whether President Thabo Mbeki will attend the African National Congress’s (ANC) three-day national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla (meeting) in Midrand.

Presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said he could not comment on whether Mbeki would be attending the lekgotla because he only represented the president in his capacity in the government and not as an ANC member.

”The ANC should confirm this. The ANC must tell you whether one of their members are attending,” said Ratshitanga.

ANC spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said he was unable to indicate whether or not Mbeki was attending the lekgotla, which started on Friday.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported it was not clear whether Mbeki would be present on the first day, but said it was ”expected that he will attend the event tomorrow [Saturday]”.

Rikhotso said ex-officio members, such as Mbeki and former president Nelson Mandela, were not obligated to attend.

Earlier, Rikhotso said: ”All the members who were elected at the [Polokwane] conference will be meeting, there is going to be an induction of all the members.

”They will be taken through the expected programme of the NEC for this year, as well as their responsibilities.”

He said Cabinet members were invited to attend the lekgotla on Saturday, when the government programme for 2008 and 2009 would be discussed.

”We will look at ways in which we can better enhance or have a better working relationship between those in the government and those in the organisation.”

The NEC was also expected to ”formulate mechanisms” to put into effect the resolutions taken at the Polokwane conference, said Rikhotso. — Sapa