No matter the outcome, some have warned the party already has slipped away from the magnanimous style of leadership displayed by leaders like Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison before being released and guiding the ANC to victory in the nation's first democratic elections. As 94-year-old Mandela has been hospitalized for over a week and fighting a lung infection, his name likely will be repeatedly mentioned at the party's conference as its standard bearer.
But one critic warns that the mention of Mandela is more a ploy for the ruling party than a call back to its values.
"The tragedy for Mandela is that his legacy will be hijacked by every possible political faction in the country," said Frans Cronje, the deputy chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations. "
For now, the Mangaung conference is scheduled to begin Sunday, with an address by Zuma about the country's political landscape today in South Africa. Delegates will vote for leaders by a secret ballot, without their mobile phones after concerns arose over people being told to photograph their ballots to prove who they vote for, ANC organizers have said. If it becomes a race with multiple candidates and no one gets more than 50 percent of the ballots cast, there will be a run-off with the top two candidates, they said.
Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .
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