Army, police at ANC festivities
Bloemfontein - The army and police will help secure the ANC's centenary celebrations in Mangaung this week, the party said on Tuesday.
Due to the size of the event, and with foreign dignitaries present, the party's own security staff would not be able to handle it on their own, African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.
"Government has come aboard and the military and police will be ready."
Local media reported that the airspace around Bloemfontein would be restricted between January 5 and 10. A higher-than-usual amount of air traffic was expected.
Mthembu said the ANC was happy with its organising committee's preparations for the centenary. Several heads of state and former foreign leaders were expected to attend the event over the coming weekend.
The main celebration would start on Friday. On Sunday party leader President Jacob Zuma would deliver the annual January 8 speech.
On Saturday there would be inter-cultural events at the Mangaung outdoor sports grounds and a music show.
Many national ANC leaders were already in the Free State doing door-to-door visits to make sure local party members attended the festivities. ANC national executive committee members would visit all the regions in the Free State until Saturday.
Mthembu said bus routes had been established in every region to transport party members to Bloemfontein.
"Buses and trains would also bring members from the Western Cape, Gauteng and other provinces to Mangaung."
The ANC had invited about 6 000 guests. About 800 journalists had applied for accreditation to cover the event.
Mthembu said the party was expecting about 100 000 people to visit the Free State capital, where the ANC was formed a century ago, over the weekend.