Late start to ANC conference
Polokwane - The ANC's elective conference got
underway three hours later than scheduled in Limpopo on Saturday afternoon,
with both delegates making it clear who they will be voting for later in the
Supporters of ANC provincial chair and
Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale battled in song with supporters of Arts and
Culture deputy Minister Joe Phaahla, who is contesting the position.
The majority of supporters were in favour of
Mathale. These included the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the province, the
women's league and the Peter Mokaba and Vhembe regions.
ANCYL president Julius Malema, a close ally
of Mathale, danced and sang along with the group.
The group in support of Mathale constantly
chanted a song indirectly referring to ANC president Jacob Zuma saying "Shower
yare sokodisa", which means "the shower is giving us problems".
Zuma has been portrayed in political cartoons
with a shower top above his head after his utterances during his rape trial in
2006, when he said he went and took a shower after he had sex with his alleged
rape victim. He was later acquitted.
Malema joined in the group doing the shower
hand gesture while dancing.
The song grew louder as party deputy president
Kgalema Motlanthe walked to the stage along with Mathale and ANC chief whip
Phaahla supporters retaliated and sang the
same song, replacing the words with "Mathale wa re sokodisa", meaning
"Mathale is giving us a problem".
Motlanthe, scheduled to address delegates,
arrived shortly before 09:00 and had been waiting for the conference to begin.
Zuma was initially expected to address the
delegates, however, the ANC has since replaced him with Motlanthe.
This was reportedly to save him embarrassment
after it was learnt that delegates loyal to Mathale, were unhappy with him and
had planned to boo him, especially after his decision to put five of Limpopo's
departments under administration.
This was evident on Saturday when delegates
gave a roaring viva for Motlanthe.
Malema had reportedly been nominated for a
position in the provincial executive committee, despite him being suspended
from the ANC for ill discipline.
He arrived at the venue on Saturday morning
with a group of ANCYL supporters who were singing in support of Mathale.
Reports suggested that if Mathale were to
win, it would boost the youth league's campaign to replace ANC secretary
general Gwede Mantashe with Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, and
ANC president Zuma with Motlanthe.
Some delegates talking amongst each other
said the actual conference ended on Friday and that Saturday's event was only a