President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Kosmos, North West - The North West ANC will only nominate its preferred candidates for the party's leadership conference on Saturday.

Verification of branch delegates would probably only finish at midnight on Friday, or in the early hours of Saturday morning, chairman Supra Mahumapelo said on Friday.

“We have to wait if we want a smooth process. All those who have been verified will be called in conference 1/8on Saturday 3/8.”

The verification was being done by officials from ANC headquarters Luthuli House at the province's office in Mahikeng.

A report would be handed to the provincial executive committee on Saturday morning around 10am and the conference should start around 1pm.

Mahumapelo said he had been in contact with African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who had okayed the arrangement.

He said the start of verification was in essence the start of the conference. Verification confirmed which branches and delegates qualified to participate in the conference.

The North West provincial general council got off to a rocky start with another group, lead by provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge, holding a parallel conference in Mahikeng.

Mataboge had been associated with the group calling for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to become party president at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung next month.

Mahumapelo had reportedly been the chief campaigner for President Jacob Zuma's second-term bid at Mangaung.

Mahumapelo said the party's national executive committee (NEC) had endorsed the Kosmos hall conference, at Hartebeesport Dam, as the official provincial conference. He said the Mahikeng conference was “a gathering of people who have some issues which are unrelated to what is happening here”.

However, Mahumapelo said Mataboge was aware the conference was being held in Kosmos, and had even handed a report about it to the PEC last Friday.

He said issues involving Mataboge would be dealt with after Mangaung.

Mataboge was shot at outside his home in Mmabatho on Friday morning, the ANC in the province said.

North West police said Mataboge was about to open the gate to his home at 3am when his car was shot at. He was unhurt.

Delegates waited at the Kosmos hall to hear when their nomination conference would start. Some had been at the venue since the morning.

Earlier in the evening they sang songs in support of President Jacob Zuma.

Mahumapelo said the PEC, excluding Mataboge, met with NEC members Nathi Mthethwa and Thaba Mufumadi on Friday morning. Mufumadi was the convener for the province.

Mahumapelo said it was agreed that the province await the verification process of delegates before proceeding.

“That is where you are going to produce your voters' roll,” he said.

“This is also registration for Mangaung. That is why we must not rush the processes.”

The ANC holds its national elective conference in Mangaung next month.

Mahumapelo said differing ideas within the party about who should lead it for the next five years were good.

“We can't be homogeneous at Mangaung, it is dangerous. We can't totally agree, but differences must become strengths.”

He said he applauded Motlanthe for adhering to ANC policy and allowing the branches to decide who they wanted as their leader.

Mahumapelo said ANC members calling for change in leadership had a “lust for capital accumulation”.

“The work the ANC does on the ground, there is very little of this in the comrades who are calling for change. They just talk, talk, talk, they can't do door-to-door (campaigning),” he said.

Mahumapelo believed every ANC president should serve two terms as party leader. He said Zuma was a visionary and the glue which kept the party together.

“He ranks among the best visionaries.” - Sapa