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04 Jan 2012 12:39
Accreditation for the ANC's centenary festivities, widely seen as a preview of the party's elective congress in Mangaung in December, started off smoothly on Wednesday morning.
The University of Free State, where accreditation is being finalised for media, public servants, service providers and attendees, was abuzz, with officials on standby to ensure there were no delays.
More than 100 000 people were expected in Bloemfontein to mark the ANC's 100th anniversary this week, with celebrations expected to be attended by several heads of state.
The ANC had invited some 6 000 guests. Party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said on Tuesday about 800 journalists had applied for accreditation to cover the event.
He said the ruling party was happy with its organising committee's preparations for the centenary in the capital, where the South African Native National Congress was founded on January 8 1912.
It was renamed the African National Congress in 1923.
The main celebration would start on Friday.
Details of logistics and the programme would be made public at a press conference in Bloemfontein at 2pm.
The army and police would be used to ensure security. Airspace around Bloemfontein would be restricted between January 5 and 10.
ANC national executive committee members were expected to visit all the regions in the Free State until Saturday, to ensure party supporters attended festivities.
The centenary festivities are widely being seen as a preview of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December, where support for President Jacob Zuma is set to be tested.
The ANC Youth League want Zuma replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe, and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe replaced by ANC national executive member Fikile Mbalula.
Former president Thabo Mbeki confirmed his attendance for the centenary celebrations on Tuesday. This was the first time Mbeki would be present at an ANC event of this magnitude since his ousting from the presidency in 2008.—Sapa
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