Uncertainty engulfed the ANC Free State provincial conference after the registration of delegates collapsed last night when some dissatisfied delegates trashed the registration venue in Bloemfontein demanding to be reinstated, alleging that their names had disappeared from the list of registered delegates.
Several disgruntled delegates were arrested when they clashed with police outside Imvelo Safari Lodge, the venue of the provincial conference demanding to be reinstated on the delegates register.
The police fired rubber bullets to try and contain the situation that threatened to stop the 9th ANC provincial conference that was scheduled for 20 – 22 January.
Chairs were scattered all over the hall and the ANC Interim Provincial Committee was forced to abandon the registration process as delegates linked to the IPC chairperson Mxolisi Dukwana sang protest songs to voice their anger at the exclusion of their names.
The conference was expected to start on Friday afternoon but had to be postponed due to the delays resulting from the registration crisis.
But there is not going to be an early start on Saturday morning before the registration crisis is resolved. Some delegates were mumbling about a fresh protest to demand the release of those arrested.
WATCH: ANC Free State conference delayed after delegates’ grievances result in chaos, clashes with cops
It is understood that there has been a fresh attempt to continue the process. During a media briefing on Friday night, the IPC assured delegates and the media the conference will have to go ahead at some point because preparations for it were already done.
There is a tight contest between Dukwana, who is MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs and the former Mangaung executive mayor, Thabo Manyoni for the position of provincial chair. Other candidates being touted for the same position include Free State premier Sisi Ntombela and MEC for education Tate Makgoe.
There is a strong push from the Dukwana camp to get him to win the race but Manyoni had launched a strong fightback to take the crucial chairperson position, which places the winner in a position to become the next premier.
While Dukwana has an advantage of incumbency as IPC coordinator but Manyoni had been campaigning at branches campaign across the province including public political lectures.
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