File photo.

Three people have been arrested for attacking others with spades at an ANC meeting near Odendaalsrus, Free State police said on Thursday.

Captain Steven Thakeng said police were called to the Phakisa race course after a fight broke out.

The Free State ANC's Lejweleputswa region was busy with a branch auditing process at the venue ahead of the regional elective conference expected to be held this weekend.

Police said three men allegedly took spades from gardeners at Phakisa to use in the fight. Four people were injured.

The three were expected to appear in the Odendaalsus Magistrate's Court soon on assault charges.

Similar scuffles had broken out at other ANC elective gatherings ahead of the ruling party’s provincial elective conference on June 16.

Free State ANC spokesman William Bulwane said he did not know about the Phakisa incident and would find out. He could not be reached for comment since.

However, he earlier confirmed that ANC headquarters Luthuli House had ordered the Free State ANC to reconvene its Fezile Dabi (Parys) regional conference to re-elect the leadership structure.

Many questions were raised after the regional conference elected its leaders some three weeks ago in Parys, the hometown of Free State ANC chairman and premier Ace Magashule.

Bulwane said the resolutions and declarations made at the first conference would stand, but the election of leaders had to be held again. The “half-day conference” would take place on Saturday.

Three regions in the Free State still needed to hold their regional conferences before the provincial elective conference. The Lejweleputswa regional conference (Welkom) was planned for this weekend. The Thabo Mofutsanayana regional conference (Bethlehem) would be held on June 1.

The Motheo regional conference (Bloemfontein) was planned for June 8.

Bulwane said these last remaining regional conferences would go ahead once audit queries were resolved by national executive committee members.

Clashes within the Free State ANC started after Magashule's bodyguards allegedly fired shots into the air at an ANC branch meeting in Mangaung in April, when members opposing and supporting Magashule started fighting.

The fight apparently began when ANC members against Magashule were stopped from attending the election of leaders of the Silver City branch. Police said the matter was being investigated.

In February, Magashule reshuffled his provincial cabinet, getting rid of economic, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Mxolisi Dukwana, who was expected to challenge him as provincial leader next month.

Members of the Free State Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association also expressed their unhappiness with Magashule this year. - Sapa