Zuma calls for unity for ANC's survival
Mbombela - President Jacob Zuma called for unity in an address to delegates at the African National Congress Mpumalanga elective conference in Mbombela on Friday, according to a report.
The SABC reported that Zuma said this would ensure the survival of the party for another century.
Delegates in the audience were warned to stop chanting slogans against other delegates, and Zuma told them to stop treating one another with enmity.
He also criticised the ANC Youth League for public utterances against party leadership, saying it should prioritise recruitment instead.
Earlier, provincial spokesperson for the party Paul Mbenyane had said the conference had got off to a smooth start.
"There have been no hitches at all, it is going well."
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 provincial party chairperson David Mabuza addressed the delegates.
Mabuza and health MEC Clifford Mkansi were expected to vie for the top party position during the event, held at Mbombela Stadium.
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, there has also been 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.