Free State ANC conference cancelled

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IOL pic june11 anc flag Independent Newspapers Photo: Phill Magakoe

The ANC in the Free State has cancelled its provincial congress for the third time, provincial spokesman William Bulwane said on Tuesday.

“The provincial congress will not be going ahead, as we are still launching regions,” he said.

The conference was meant to be held this coming weekend.

However, the Lejweleputswa region (Welkom) would be launching this weekend, said Bulwane.

The region would also be audited.

Bulwane said after Lejweleputswa had completed its audit, the province had two more regions to audit before it could hold a provincial conference.

Last month, police were called to the Phakisa racecourse in Welkom after a fight broke out between ANC members.

The region was conducting a branch auditing process at the venue ahead of the regional elective conference at the time.

Similar scuffles had broken out at other ANC elective gatherings ahead of the ruling party's provincial elective conference.

In March, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape were all set to have provincial elective conferences before the end of May.

With two weeks to go until the ANC's national policy conference, the Free State was the only province that still needed to hold its conference.

On Tuesday, Mantashe said the province had to postpone the conference because not all of its five regions had been audited.

He said the Free State was under pressure.

“We don't want to push regions to jump steps... (when the) audit is done then (the) conference can be held,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

Bulwane said the Free State would still hold its provincial conference before the national policy conference on June 26.

“We agreed that the provincial congress must be held before the policy conference. We (are) still committed to that,” he said.

The Democratic Alliance in the Free State on Tuesday said it was concerned by constant reports of violence during ANC meetings in the run-up to the party’s provincial conference.

Roy Jankielsohn, DA Free State leader, said the police were being used to referee political faction fighting.

“The SAPS (SA Police Service) not only have to mobilise to deal with complaints of violence during ANC meetings, but factions within the ANC are also accusing the police of taking sides,” he said.

“The SAPS have enough work to protect residents of the province and should not have be used to referee internal faction fights within political parties.”

Jankielsohn said the levels of political intolerance that the ANC in the province displayed was a cause for concern.

“There appears to be an inability to implement or accept democratic principles in the party,” he said. - Sapa

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