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Nominations postponed at Mangaung

ANC adjourned its first day of the Mangaung conference without holding nominations.

ANC President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe on 16 December 2012, the first day of the party's conference in Mangaung on. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

MANGAUNG - The ANC had to adjourn its first day of the Mangaung conference during the early hours of Monday morning, without holding nominations.

Shortly after Secretary General Gwede Mantashe's organisational report, delegates went into a closed session for a financial report and credentials verification process.

But the session was adjourned at around 1am.

Dozens of delegates walked out of the main plenary hall visibly upset because nominations could not happen.

Some have told Eyewitness News the provincial secretaries refused to sign the credentials verification due to unresolved issues with Free State and North West delegates.

But others said the credentials were not ready, which prompted the adjournment.

The nominations were supposed to follow the verification process, but never got underway.

The ANC said the verification process will resume on Monday.

Mantashe's organisational report was heavily critical of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and its tripartite ally, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

He also called for discipline within the organisation.

"It borders on counter-revolution to deliberately sabotage an ANC gathering emerging. We've always found strength as this movement in our diversity of opinion and wide-rage development. What made the ANC live 100 years is its ability to engage."

ZUMA WORKS THE CROWD

President Zuma's supporters emerged as the most vocal during the first day of the conference.

They chanted his name, drowning out opposing voices in the plenary hall.

When Zuma entered the venue, the crowd erupted in song and cheer.

The president then led the crowd in song, making it difficult for anyone to remain in their seats.

His speech focused on various issues affecting the party, including discipline.

"We have stated at the NGC and restate here that the leagues are structures of the ANC which are subject to the discipline of the ANC."

A total of 4,500 delegates who attended the conference were asked not to sing divisive songs in the spirit of a peaceful conference.

RAMAPHOSA CHASING DEPUTY PRESIDENCY POST

Meanwhile, there appears to have been a significant amount of horse-trading for positions going on.

The Star newspaper reported that businessman Cyril Ramaphosa has declined to become President Zuma's deputy at the eleventh hour.

Top level meetings were apparently underway to hastily find a replacement candidate.

But Eyewitness News has learnt Ramaphosa told his close friends that he will run, making the race for the deputy president the most contested one in this conference.

Ramaphosa is expected to declare that he has accepted nomination for the position of deputy president of the ANC on Monday.

Newsfire has also reported that Ramaphosa offered to refuse nomination for the deputy president position if Motlanthe did not challenge Zuma for the presidency.

For Zuma's full speech, click here