(File image) President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Jacques Naude

Sasolburg - The Free State will back Jacob Zuma for a second term as party president at the African National Congress’s elective conference in December, the party said on Thursday.

“As the provincial executive committee our feeling is that Zuma must take us over and finish what he has started as the president of the African National Congress,” provincial secretary William Bulwana said at the beginning of the nomination conference.

After nine hours of waiting, the conference finally began at 7.30pm.

Delegates sang: “We’ll take Zuma by hand and put him in Luthuli House.”

The heat and the delay at the Boiketlong Sports Centre in Sasolburg had not dampened the spirit of the delegates, who continued to sing after the broken public address system caused further delays.

Bulwana said the only region that had delayed the registration process was Thabo Mofutsanyana. It was finally processed and all the delegates made it into the centre's main hall.

Most of the delegates wore T-shirts with the slogan “Phinda Msholozi” (Do it again Msholozi). Msholozi is Zuma's clan name.

The same T-shirts had the number 2 printed on the back, along with the word “Zumantashe”, a conflation of Zuma's and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe's names.

“Because the lobbying process was opened on the first of October we’ve got the feeling that many members of these branches have gone along those lines of saying that Zuma must become the president of the ANC.

“It will just be tightened up today and be formalised,” said Bulwana.

All the members of the ANC provincial committee were present, including the premier and provincial chairperson Ace Magashule. - Sapa