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Mantashe expects peaceful Mangaung

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday he is looking forward to a peaceful 53rd national conference in Mangaung later this year.

“We are not going to see a repeat of (Polokwane). It is going to be ordered,” he told reporters in Joburg.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. Photo: Theresa Taylor.

There were deafening boos when then ANC chairman and ANC president Thabo Mbeki attempted to address delegates at the party's previous elective conference in Polokwane in December 2007.

Mantashe said on Monday: “We are not going to see kicking, people on top of tables, howling.”

But he predicted that the lead-up to the conference would be rough.

“It is robust, it is rough, it is politics... it is politics,” he said.

At the ANC's national conferences, delegates discuss and finalise drafts of policy documents which go on to form the basis for government policies, new laws, or amended laws.

A new ANC national executive committee is elected, as well as the “top six” officials which includes the president of the party. This individual usually goes on to also become the president of the country if the party wins the next general election.

The Polokwane conference was preceded by speculation over whether Mbeki would get a third term at the helm of the party, or whether Jacob Zuma would become its president despite a threat of renewed corruption charges.

Mantashe said candidates vying for the top job in a big corporation went through the same tensions with three candidates looking as though they stood a chance. Two eventually stepped aside to make way for the stronger candidate.

“It happens everywhere,” Mantashe said.

“(The ANC is) 100 years old. It's been through various phases. It knows it all.” – Sapa

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