Delegates at the ANC Eastern Cape conference were subjected to tight security checks as they entered the conference venue on Saturday. Photo: ANA
Delegates at the ANC Eastern Cape conference were subjected to tight security checks as they entered the conference venue on Saturday. Photo: ANA
ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane (left) and chairman Phumulo Masualle on Friday evening. Photo: ANA
ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane (left) and chairman Phumulo Masualle on Friday evening. Photo: ANA
Delegates arrive at the ANC Eastern Cape conference on Saturday.  Photo: ANA
Delegates arrive at the ANC Eastern Cape conference on Saturday. Photo: ANA
The ANC Eastern Cape conference is taking place amid tight security. Photo: ANA
The ANC Eastern Cape conference is taking place amid tight security. Photo: ANA

East London - The African National Congress has stepped up security at its Eastern Cape conference under way at the East London International Convention Centre [ELICC] to prevent "ghost delegates" attending, following security breaches and disruptions of discussion sessions on Friday night.

Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Buffalo City metro police, and former members of ANC military wing Umkhonto weSizwe {MK) on Saturday monitored delegates entering the conference venue. Entrance was strictly controlled and only officially authorised delegates were allowed in. 

ANC Eastern Cape spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane said reports had been received of security breaches on Friday at East London's Orient Theatre, used as the registration centre for all delegates. 
 
"We were informed that at the registration centre people were able to storm the door at the centre to the computers area and got hold of computers which is supposed to be a fortified area. We were also informed that there were some delegates who came running and moved the security from the [ELICC] main door; that is why today [Saturday] we have decided to upscale and beef up the security," he said.

The focus at the conference appears to be on who will emerge as winner in the hotly contested position of provincial chairman, which sees current chairman Phumulo Masualle pitted against provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane. Both factions have been upbeat, although the mood inside the conference venue appears to give Mabuyane the upper hand. 

The conference is working against a Saturday midnight deadline to conclude voting - the cut-off time for any conferences before the ANC's national elective conference in December. 

Qoboshiyane acknowledged that there was a problem of "ghost delegates" from the Amathole and Nelson Mandela Bay regions. 

"The sterling committee, as well as credentials committee, managed to meet yesterday [Friday] for the process of cleansing the conference delegates. Delegates that were not supposed to be at the venue were removed even though some of them already had access tags; they were called to return those tags," Qoboshiyane said.

Some delegates supposed to be at the conference from these regions had apparently been left behind. Each region had been allocated a seating area for the number of expected delegates. This would help to identify extra delegates, he said.
African News Agency