Storm disrupts Mangaung conference

A huge storm has threatened to disrupt the ANC's national conference in Mangaung.

ANC delegates queue in Mangaung on 19 December 2012 to vote in new members of the NEC. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MANGAUNG - A huge storm on Wednesday threatened to disrupt the ANC's 53rd national conference in Mangaung, with security officials getting worried about the safety of delegates.

This as party members spent the day voting for National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

Other delegates were locked in closed commissions.

A plenary session due to start on Wednesday afternoon was pushed back.

The conference has been threatened by court interdicts, right-wing terrorist plots and now the weather.

It was blazing hot all day, but a massive storm moved in on Wednesday afternoon.

Security officials were worried about the safety of the 4,500 delegates under the big marquee.

The party members were advised to go somewhere safe until the storm passed.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said the rain was expected to last for the next four days.

Forecaster Elizabeth Webster said, "In Bloemfontein, we've got isolated showers and thundershowers. This is expected to continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening."

Earlier, delegates stood in long queues waiting to vote for NEC members.

NO WORD ON MOTLANTHE

South African Communist Party (SACP) leader and cabinet minister Blade Nzimande says the ANC must do what is best for the stability of the party.

This is amid speculation that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe may resign or be recalled.

Motlanthe lost the presidential race to incumbent Jacob Zuma during the voting for the ANC's top six on Tuesday.

He also declined a nomination to be a candidate for the NEC.

Nzimande, who is a staunch ally of Zuma, says he wants what is best for the ANC and the country.

"I can't comment on that [the Motlanthe issue] because it is a matter for the party and the president, as head of state, as to who serves under him."