ANC launches veterans league

HUNDREDS of ANC delegates will converge on Esselen Park outside Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, this weekend to launch the ruling party's veterans league.

ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe has confirmed that 400 voting delegates, representing the nine provinces, will converge on the conference centre to launch the league.

Struggle icons expected to make up the league include former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, former ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu and Robben Islanders such as Ahmed Kathrada.

Amid speculation that Mandela would become president of the league, Mantashe said: "There is nothing wrong with Mandela becoming president ... but at this stage it's nothing but a rumour."

The veterans are also expected to be kingmakers at ANC elective conferences as they have been given voting powers.

Mantashe told a media conference at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, in Johannesburg that the veterans would be accorded the status of a province with full voting powers.

"The league will have voting rights like the youth and women's leagues."

As an autonomous structure the veterans league will also have rights to comment on the state of the ANC alliance and various squabbles in the alliance.