/ 27 August 2008

ANC Northern Cape conference still not under way

The Northern Cape African National Congress (ANC) conference had still not started by noon on Wednesday.

Party officials indicated during the morning that the gathering could begin sometime during the afternoon in Kuruman.

The conference had been delayed since Monday due to ”technical problems” that involved verifying party meetings held in the run-up to the conference.

ANC national executive committee (NEC) members sent to the province to help settle the deadlock had been in talks with local party leaders since Monday.

On Wednesday morning NEC members and provincial party leaders were still locked in negotiations at a local hotel to verify contested party procedures.

A huge police and private security contingent was at the hotel.

At the conference venue, several kilometres outside Kuruman, only ANC staff, service providers and police were visible.

Supporters of the two ANC candidates contesting the post of chairperson — current chairperson John Block and provincial secretary Neville Mompati — had been involved a bitter feud at party meetings in the run-up to the conference over the past month.

Earlier, NEC member Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the conference would continue despite ”tough” negotiations in sorting out the glitches.

The problems included, amongst others, dual branch general meetings held by Block and Mompati supporters in the same areas.

The situation got out of hand when branch representatives tried to register in Kuruman, only to find the branch had already registered under different names.

The registration process was restarted on Tuesday afternoon after it was stopped due to fighting on Monday night.

ANC officials indicated on Wednesday that registration had continued through most of the night, and that the process would be finished during the morning. — Sapa