Zuma will enjoy full support of the party in his fraud and corruption trial

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Jacob Zuma will enjoy the full support of the ANC national executive committee in his fraud and corruption trial.

Confirmation of the NEC's support will be made public at a press briefing at Luthuli House this morning.

"Yes, the president [Zuma] has our full support. The logistics will be worked out soon and this will be coordinated by Luthuli House," said an insider who did not want to be named last night.

Conspicuous by his absence at the crucial meeting in Esselen Park was President Thabo Mbeki, who was ousted by Zuma as party boss at a conference in Polokwane, Limpopo, last month.

This was the first meeting of the NEC since the election - and the case against Zuma, the election of the national working committee and preparations for the January 8 statement topped the agenda.

The absence of Mbeki, an ex officio member of the NEC because he is head of state, fuelled speculation that differences between the Mbeki and Zuma camps are still to be resolved.

These were clearly in the open at the acrimonious Polokwane meeting.

Our source, however, said that following on the heels of Zuma's first public statement as ANC boss in Polokwane when he stressed the need to pacify relations, the pro-Zuma faction yesterday worked hard to accommodate Mbeki's supporters in the working committee.

Zuma will face charges by the NPA on August 14 that he received R4million from his former financial adviser and convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.

High-profile witnesses against Zuma include ID leader Patricia de Lille, former MP and former chairman of parliamentary watchdog standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

The organisation will hold its 96th anniversary celebration and deliver its January 8 statement at Tshwane's Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday.

The ceremony is expected to start at 10am at the 20000-seater stadium, and will feature musical performances, messages of support from the party's alliance partners and the traditional January 8 address.

This address will be delivered by Zuma, to mark the day the party was established, spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said. The speech usually charts the way forward for the party and is expected to be keenly watched after a tumultuous presidential succession process and in the run up to the 2009 presidential and general election in South Africa.

The event will be attended by ANC members from various provinces and ANC NEC members and national office bearers will take their seats on the stage, Rikhotso said.

The event is also expected to be attended by other invited guests such as diplomats, representatives of other liberation movements on the continent, businesspeople and the alliance partners.

There will also be a presentation of awards for  structures deemed to have excelled in carrying out the programmes of the party.

The Annual Achievement Awards are presented to the best performing ANC branch, Women's League branch, Youth League branch and group of ANC local councillors. The awards were initiated in 2000 and aim to highlight the features of strong branches and councils and to reward best practice within the movement, said Rikhotso.

The awards are named after  ANC personalities in recognition of their contribution to the "struggle for freedom" and will be announced by Zuma.