PARTY TIME

ANC gets ready for 103rd birth­day fes­tiv­i­ties

CityPress - - News - AN­DISIWE MAK­I­NANA and CAI­PHUS KGOSANA an­disiwe.mak­i­nana@city­press.co.za and cai­phus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

T he ANC is hop­ing to paint Cape Town black, yel­low and green this week to cel­e­brate its 103rd birth­day – and those with R3 mil­lion to spare get to hang out with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

This marks the first time since 2004 that the ANC will hold its an­nual Jan­uary 8 cel­e­bra­tions in the Western Cape, the only prov­ince in­which it is theop­po­si­tion rather than the gov­ern­ing party.

The ANC is very weak in the prov­ince after years of in­ter­nal fac­tional bat­tles, which con­trib­uted to its loss of power and a dec­i­ma­tion of branches, es­pe­cially in the coloured com­mu­ni­ties, which make up the majority of the prov­ince’s pop­u­la­tion.

Some of the party’s lead­ers, among them deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte and chair­per­son Baleka Mbete, have been hard at work mo­bil­is­ing sup­port­ers ahead of the main event at Cape Town Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The ANC’s na­tional spokesper­son, Zizi Kodwa, said the party was ex­pect­ing a ca­pac­ity crowd at the sta­dium, which can hold 62 000 peo­ple.

Most guests will be from the Western Cape, but thou­sands will be bused in from other prov­inces.

The event will be pre­ceded by a gala din­ner at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on Fri­day night. Zuma will be the key­note speaker and might of­fer some hints about the speech he is sched­uled to de­liver on Satur­day.

Kodwa said Zuma’s speech would high­light “key mile­stones for the ANC for 2015”.

He added: “Th­ese will not only be for the ANC, but for the coun­try, as he will not only be talk­ing to the ANC, but to the coun­try.”

The an­nual speech, widely known as the “Jan­uary 8 state­ment”, out­lines the party’s plan of ac­tion for the year.

Be­cause it is now a year be­fore the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, Zuma is ex­pected to high­light the ANC’s achieve­ments in the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that it gov­erns and touch on plans to turn around dys­func­tional ones. He is also ex­pected to speak about prepa­ra­tions for the na­tional gen­eral coun­cil – the ANC’ midterm pol­icy re­view gath­er­ing in June.

AR3 mil­lion price tag has been placed on Zuma’s 10-seater Ti­ta­nium ta­ble at the gala din­ner, while the Plat­inum ta­ble, where guests can min­gle with Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, goes for R2 mil­lion. Those with­less to spend can join a heavy­weight ANC dig­ni­tary or Cab­i­net min­is­ter at the Sil­ver ta­ble, which costs R1 mil­lion. The Bronze ta­ble goes for R150 000.

The ANC’s Western Cape sec­re­tary, Songezo Mjongile, in­sisted there would be room for or­di­nary sup­port­ers and guests, with ta­ble prices for the 1 000-seat din­ner start­ing at R150. The Mail & Guardian re­ported on Fri­day that com­pa­nies will spend a small for­tune to min­gle with the gov­ern­ing party’s big­wigs at a cor­po­rate hos­pi­tal­ity lounge filled with min­is­ters, pre­miers and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, with a top-end bar and buf­fet lunch just out­side the sta­dium on Satur­day.

“The cor­po­rate lounge will be a net­work lounge,” said Kodwa.

“Re­mem­ber, the event is not just a po­lit­i­cal event, it’s a so­cial event, it’s an en­ter­tain­ment event; it’s a cel­e­bra­tion. Peo­ple will want to net­work for other things there.

The ANC has ar­ranged more than 400 buses, more than 30 trains and more than 1 000 taxis to bring peo­ple to the sta­dium.

On Thurs­day, Zuma and other ANC big­wigs will go to Khayelit­sha, where a birth­day cake will be cut at the OR Tambo Com­mu­nity Hall.

CEL­E­BRA­TORY MOOD Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma at last year’s gala din­ner in Nel­spruit

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

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