Published — Tuesday 18 December 2012
Last update 18 December 2012 4:58 am
BLOEMFONTEIN/JOHANNESBURG: South African police have arrested four right-wing extremists, suspected of having weapons and planning attacks on undisclosed targets, a spokesman said yesterday.
After a nearly two-year investigation, police arrested four men, "believed to be right-wing extremists, suspected of acts of terrorism," according to police spokesman Brig. Billy Jones.
During a raid, police said they uncovered evidence supporting the investigation on their premises.
Jones told AFP the plot was not linked with the ruling ANC's political conference under way in the city of Bloemfontein.
"Four people were arrested... not linked to the conference at all. . . . Those people were arrested in different places in the country," he said.
Local media claimed that the plot was targeting the African National Congress's five-yearly leadership conference in Bloemfontein.
Security has been extremely tight around the conference, with razor wire thrown up around a perimeter guarded by armed police.
The Free State province is historically a hotbed of Afrikaner nationalism.
Since the fall of the white-minority apartheid government in 1994 numerous right-wing groups have turned to violence.
The African National Congress, the nation's governing party, has begun accepting nominations for its top officials.
At their meeting yesterday, officials announced that there would be only two candidates contesting to be the party's president: Current President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The 70-year-old Zuma is perceived to be the favorite to win over his deputy, despite being trailed by corruption allegations.
Some 4,000 delegates will vote for the ANC's leadership. Whoever the party picks will likely be the next president of this nation of 50 million people, as opposition parties don't have the same support in South Africa.
Meanwhile, former South African president Nelson Mandela remained in hospital for a 10th straight day yesterday after receiving treatment for a lung infection and gallstone surgery, the president's office said.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace Laureate was flown from his rural home in Qunu in the south of the country to the capital Pretoria on Dec. 8 for treatment.
Mandela missed the return of his grandson from an initiation ceremony.
Bambatha Mandela had been in the bush for days for the ukwaluka ceremony of Mandela's Xhosa people, learning about the culture and ultimately undergoing a circumcision carried out by a traditional surgeon. Eastern Cape.