6 months ago
Former President Thabo Mbeki. (AFP)  ~ 

Former president Thabo Mbeki will not be attending the ANC's manifesto launch in Durban on Saturday, the ANC confirmed on Friday.

The party's secretary general Ace Magashule told reporters at a press conference on Friday that Mbeki had apologised for not being part of the launch.

"We have invited all former leaders of the ANC, including former NEC (national executive committee) members, who are still alive. Mbeki indicated he would have loved to come but has other engagements. He has apologised for not coming," said Magashule.

When pressed for an answer on whether there were other factors that might have led to Mbeki's decision to miss such an important event, Magashule said: "I can't speak on behalf of Mbeki. It's not only him. There are many other NEC members who will not be there tomorrow (Saturday)."

Magashule confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma would be part of the event.

'Divisive' messages not allowed

The party said T-shirts and placards with "divisive" messages would not be allowed inside Moses Mabhida Stadium where the manifesto launch is taking place.

Alcohol and firearms would also not be allowed inside the stadium, the party said. T-shirts with faces of former presidents, however, would be allowed.

Magashule reiterated that the party was united ahead of the event, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Generally, the unity of the movement is there, it's visible. We are motivated by the branches on the ground," said Magashule.

He said it did not mean that there was disunity in the party "when there are a few voices [complaining]".

Court challenges shot down

With regards to outstanding regional conferences, such as the one in the Moses Mabhida region in KwaZulu-Natal, Magashule said the party would consult its members.

The region reportedly took the ANC to court on Friday morning demanding that its conference be held before the elections.

"It's not only Moses Mabhida that has not held its conference. All those regions were told now the focus is on the elections. We will deal with that matter afterwards."

Magashule said the ANC would act against party members who continued to take the party to court when they had "exhausted" all internal processes of the party.

Magashule said the party's manifesto was a "people's manifesto".

"It captures the hopes of the people of country," he said.

Delegations from other countries expected

The former Free State premier acknowledged that more work still needed to be done "despite the work that the ANC has done since 1994".

He said the ANC's manifesto would encompass issues including crime, unemployment, poverty and corruption.

"We commit ourselves that the manifesto will speak to the tangible change that our people want to see," he said

Delegations from political parties from other countries would also be part of the launch, the party said.

ANC supporters will be bused in from across all nine provinces and will start arriving at midnight on Friday.

Gates to the stadium will open at 06:00 on Saturday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver his address at 10:55, according to a programme issued to the media.


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