ANC wants IDs for Mpumalanga rally
In a bid to protect President Thabo Mbeki from unruly party members, ANC branches have been instructed to forward the names and identity numbers of all those who will attend the ANC Mpumalanga rally on Saturday.
But ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama denied that the aim of the exercise was to protect Mbeki or other leaders of the party from rogue elements.
"This is a standard procedure of the ANC. At times it has not been followed by some branches but it should be done," he said.
Ngonyama said the protection of Mbeki and other leaders of the party lay solely with the members of the organisation.
"What sort of security measures can we put in place to make sure that people do not behave in an unacceptable manner?" asked Ngonyama.
"We leave that to the conscience and loyalty of party members.
"We do not expect behaviour similar to what happened in Pietermaritzburg." he said.
Sowetan understands that there are fears that Mbeki will be heckled at Saturday's rally as he was at a commemoration ceremony for ANC stalwart Moses Mabhida.
Members of the national intelligence agency are said to be combing the province for people whom they regard as a security risk. Senior members of the party have been deployed for "political work" ahead of the rally.
But the cordial interaction between Mbeki and ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma at the party's 95th birthday celebrations on Monday could send themessage that there is now unity among the party's warring factions.