22/11/2017 16:16 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 16:16 SAST

Mantashe: 'No Way ANC Won't Sit For Its December Conference'

"Any prediction of a conference of the ANC not sitting –– there is no way that it will not sit."

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says the party's latest figures show that 90 percent of its branches throughout the country have completed their general meetings.

The party has allowed another week for branches to "mop up" their meetings ahead of the national conference in December, at which the ANC will elect its new leadership.

He said there is no possibility that the conference will not sit, come December.

As of Tuesday, the number of branch general meetings (BGMs) outstanding were:

Eastern Cape: 71

Free State: 29

Gauteng: 41

KwaZulu-Natal: 122

Mpumalanga: 3

Limpopo: 69

Northern Cape: 0

North West: 40

Western Cape: 48

READ: Is The ANC Really Ready For Its National Conference?

"We asked ourselves, should we close BGMs? We said no, let's allow a week for a mop-up. We still want the remaining part of the 10 percent to get further branches to the conference of the ANC, so that everyone participates," Mantashe said.

"Any prediction of a conference of the ANC not sitting –– there is no way that it will not sit.

"The teams of the [national executive committee] are in the provinces dealing with those [who have] appeals and objections... The Youth League has done its nominations, and the Women's League. The Veterans' League is finalising their nominations... We will have a few [provincial general councils] this weekend," he added.

Speaking about Robert Mugabe's resignation as head of state in Zimbabwe, Mantashe said the ANC had taken an approach "that is not as emotional as many others".

"Ours is not to celebrate this or that; we must continue respecting Mugabe for the role he played as a freedom fighter... We must celebrate him as a pan-Africanist, and for the role he played in the last decades. The fact that there was no obvious loss of life, damage to property, and peaceful protests to us is quite reassuring," he said.

"We are hoping our comrades in Zimbabwe will rebuild Zimbabwe to its former self... The reason we didn't want to comment on Zimbabwe is [that] we didn't know what was happening. We have been watching the developments; the tensions. There [was] a series of incidents that were happening in Zanu-PF that were worrying us, but we had no control over that."