ANC opens 53rd National Congress in S. Africa

Updated: 2012-12-17 15:04


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BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa - The South African ruling African National Congress (ANC) 53rd National Congress kicked off in the nation's judicial capital of Bloemfontein on Sunday morning.

The ANC is currently in an alliance with the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions in ruling the country.

ANC opens 53rd National Congress in S. Africa

Flanked by security officials, President Jacob Zuma waves upon arrival at the start of the 53rd National Conference of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein Dec 16, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

The conference was attended by more than 4500 delegates in the nine provinces across the country, with the theme of "Unity in Action towards Social-Economic Freedom".

In delivering his political report, President Jacob Zuma, who is also state president, stressed great achievements made by his party and government since the last ANC national congress.

On Dec 16-20, 2007, the 52nd ANC National Conference was held in the city of  Polokwane in the northeastern province of  Limpopo.

"Here are 4500 ANC delegates, representing thousands of branches with about over 1.2 million members across the country," said Zuma.

The president pointed out that"South Africa has made phenomenal strides as a nation over the past 18 years in promoting national unity and reconciliation".

"The ANC can run the economy, the ANC will continue to provide strong economic leadership,"said the president. "The destination we are heading towards is a mixed economy, where the state and private enterprises would complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate social poverty and promote the shared economic growth."

In talking about the challenges, he said, "We would expand economic growth drivers beyond mining, oil and agriculture, we would do more to achieve true reconciliation. We need to bridge the inequalities, intensify the fight against poverty and crime."

The congress is scheduled to end on Thursday.

Top on the agenda of the national conference will be the election of new ANC leadership, including the new president.

Some delegates told Xinhua that the new president would possibly be elected between President Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also state deputy president.

Given the ANC's electoral dominance in the country, the new ANC president will be likely to become the next president of the country at the elections in 2014.

It was expected the ANC delegates would nominate candidates for the top leadership of six officials on Sunday night.

The ANC was founded in 1921,becoming an important force of national liberation movement in the post-apartheid era. It has become the biggest ruling party since the apartheid ended in 1994.