ANC bigwigs at crucial talks today

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) will gather today at a special meeting that is seen as the last opportunity by the divided leadership to resolve their differences so as to guide party members towards Limpopo.

The NEC meeting comes in the middle of an intensified campaign and what has been described as an "all-out war" between the factions supporting President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy Jacob Zuma.

The two groups are intent on outdoing each other in the election of leaders at the party's national conference to be held in Polokwane in two weeks' time.

Senior leaders from both camps travelled the length and breadth of the country trying to convince their supporters to vote for their respective candidates.

Information coming from both sides indicates that the camps are determined to increase the numbers in the run-up to Limpopo. Meetings were held in Eastern Cape, Gauteng's West Rand region, Mpumalanga and Limpopo to consolidate positions.

At the NEC meeting, both national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe are likely to come under criticism from opposing camps for their public utterances.

Lekota is seen as being pro-Mbeki and Motlanthe is said to favour Zuma.

ANC spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said of the meeting yesterday: "This is not an extraordinary meeting, but a planned special meeting of the NEC to look at reports. It is called a special meeting because the last NEC ordinary meeting was held two weeks ago."