Mantashe: Everything’s fine, ANC is not under siege

"Nevermind what everybody is saying, we feel we are prepared for Mangaung. The ANC is not under siege," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

Mantashe spoke after the ruling party's special national executive committee (NEC) meeting was held on Monday in order to finalise preparations for Mangaung.

The ANC NEC has ordered several provincial nomination conferences to reconvene in the wake of allegations of vote rigging and other irregularities – culminating in two provinces cancelling their gatherings.

The Limpopo ANC had to cancel its nominations conference on Friday night when proceedings were disrupted by opposing factions.

The ANC in the Western Cape adjourned its event early on Saturday morning without endorsing candidates because of logistical delays, including the verification of branch delegates.

Mantashe said the two conferences in Limpopo and the Western Cape failed to nominate their chosen candidates as a result of "disruptions" and "disagreements within the provincial executive committee".

Both conferences will now be run on Wednesday, according to Mantashe.

The Limpopo and Western Cape are divided over their preferred nomination for ANC president at Mangaung, with incumbent President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe said to be running neck and neck in the provinces.

Mantashe added that if the affected provinces still fail to nominate their preferred candidates; they will have to do so from the floor of the Mangaung conference.

"The beauty of nominations is that it is not elections," he said. "Making your voice heard with your chosen candidates can still be done at a conference."

Mantashe said that as far as the ANC was concerned all provincial nomination conferences and those by the ruling party's leagues in the past fortnight were conducted peacefully.

He added that no complaints had been received from the Eastern Cape, where a group opposed to President Jacob Zuma claimed there were ghost delegates. According to provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane, the party had discovered that databases from public and private institutions had been used to enrol people. Some were not even aware they had been made ANC members.

The culprits who tampered with the membership forms also deposited R12 joining fees so they could be deemed to be in "good standing".

Mabuyane said this was discovered when the membership register was checked ahead of branch meetings.

Mantashe said the NEC have decided that the political report, to be delivered by Zuma at Mangaung, as well as the organisational report – to be delivered by himself – would be open to journalists on the first day of the congress.

"It's best for journalists to get it from the horse's mouth – not to say that I'm a horse," Mantashe said. 

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Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.

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