Rev. John L. Dube, First President of the African National Congress. The ANC, the ruling party in South Africa since 1994, will celebrate its 95th anniversary on saturday, January 13, 2007.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
ANC planning big birthday rally
Mon, 08 Jan 2007
The African National Congress which turns 95-years-old on Monday will celebrate its anniversary with a mass rally in Witbank, Mpumalanga on Saturday.
The party said in a statement it was expecting 20 000 people to attend the rally, with President Thabo Mbeki being the main speaker for the day.
He will present the annual 8 January statement by the ANC National Executive Committee, which outlines the plans and programmes for the party in the year ahead.
The winners of the ANC's annual achievement awards will be announced at the rally. There will also be an extensive cultural programme and performances by Mafikizolo and Ntando.
On 8 January 1912, the South African Native National Congress was formed for Africans to defend their rights and fight for freedom.
Rev John Dube was elected president and Sol Plaatje became secretary. In 1923 the organisation changed its name to the African National Congress.
Sexwale denies claims
Mon, 08 Jan 2007
Businessman Tokyo Sexwale has rejected as "kite-flying" reports that he had been asked to run for the position of African National Congress president.
"The articles are spurious," he said through a spokesperson on Monday. "They are kite-flying, nothing more than a red herring, and we treat them with disdain."
Senior Cabinet minister Essop Pahad, who reportedly approached Sexwale, also issued a denial on Monday.
"We seem to be entering an extended silly season of wild reporting about the presidential succession stakes," he said.
At the weekend, the Sunday Times said Sexwale had been approached by senior cabinet ministers to run for the position of ANC president later this year.
Such a move would pave the way for him to become the president of South Africa when Thabo Mbeki retires in 2009. The newspaper said Sexwale himself had been talking to both of the ANC factions, whose loyalties are split between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.
Part of Sexwale's strategy appears to be to seek former President Nelson Mandela's endorsement of his candidature, which his backers believe would constitute a great boost for his campaign.
Sexwale's spokesperson, Chris Vick, said it was not surprising that articles of such a "speculative" nature would appear in newspapers on the ANC presidency.
"It is predictable that such articles will be published in anticipation of this year's ANC conference, even though the true nature of the ANC's election procedures is well-known," he said in a statement.
"We also take a dim view of attempts to misuse the name of senior and respected members of the ANC in an attempt to substantiate these reports. We have no further comment," Vick said.
In a letter to Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya on Monday, and sent to Sapa by government communications (GCIS), Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad denied having discussed the issue with Sexwale as reported by the newspaper.
"It needs to be said, that there is no truth whatsoever in the claim that I have had talks with Mr Tokyo Sexwale in relation to this matter as reported.
"You now face the daunting challenge of providing your readers with at least some details of why you should suggest that such (non-existent) talks took place.
"Equally the 'concerns' attributed to me in relation to this matter are without basis and I would like to know when and to whom these were expressed," Pahad said.
The tested processes, in due course, to elect the President of the ANC and of South Africa were something that would follow the normal rules and conventions over the period that lay ahead.
He said "mischievous" attempts to report falsely on the matter, whether to create factions or achieve other ends, would have no influence on the course of events.
"As for the suggestion that my cellphone rang 'unanswered' when you allegedly sought to phone me, I have checked all my calls, answered and unanswered, and can find no record of this," Pahad said.