Mpuma ANC conference kicks off
Mbombela - The African National Congress' provincial elective conference in Mbombela got off to a smooth start on Friday, the party in Mpumalanga said.
"There have been no hitches at all, it is going well," said spokesperson Paul Mbenyane.
Registration for the conference was completed on Thursday evening.
"There are over 1 000 delegates, the most our provincial conference has ever had, and this shows that the ANC is growing in the province," he said.
President Jacob Zuma delivered a two-hour speech before lunch and provincial party chair David Mabuza would address the delegates in the afternoon.
Mabuza and health MEC Clifford Mkansi are expected to vie for the top party position during the event, held at Mbombela Stadium.
Mbenyane said the candidates were expected to be announced on Friday evening between 20:00 and 22:00.
Candidates would then submit their availability and more nominations from the floor would be processed.
Voting for the top spot would take place either on Friday night or on Saturday morning, he said.
Mabuza - reportedly a close ally of Zuma - received overwhelming support during the ANC regional conferences, with four regions showing their support for him.
However, he could face a tough fight as the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the ANC Youth League and the SA Communist Party have voiced their disapproval of him as leader.
Those who want Mabuza removed have repeatedly complained about widespread corruption, divisions within the ANC and political infighting.
His rival Mkansi is a former secretary of the Sondelani branch at Thulamahashe, outside Bushbuckridge.