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17 Dec 2012 13:19
The four people arrested for suspected acts of terrorism were not linked to the ANC's conference in Mangaung. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
"No, at this stage we are not linking any of the arrests with the conference at all," spokesperson Brigadier Billy Jones said on Monday.
"The acts of these suspects were countrywide."
He confirmed that only four people, believed to be right wing extremists, had been arrested.
"The suspects are aged between 40 and 50. Their premises were searched and evidence supporting the investigation was seized."
Jones said the arrests, which took place on Sunday, were the result of a successful joint law enforcement operation.
The four would be charged and brought before a court soon.
Jones said his team was investigating further.
However, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said preliminary information suggested the men were planning to bomb the marquee where Zuma and 4 500 delegates are holding a five-day meeting to chose the ANC's leadership for the next five years.
"This would have been an act of terrorism that South Africa can ill afford," Khoza said.
The newly-established Federal Freedom Party (FFP) said that at least two of the people arrested were believed to be members of their party. "We are a political party, not a military organisation," national secretary Francois Cloete said.
"They are innocent until proven guilty, but our party doesn't stand for acts of terrorism."
The FFP was officially launched on October 10. Cloete said he could not confirm how many members it had yet.
Cloete described the FFP as a "party that promotes self-determination of the Afrikaner/Boer people in a confederal political model".
The ANC's 53rd elective conference started in Mangaung, in the Free State, on Sunday. – Sapa
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