Chivas deal for ANC tots

Party may buy top brand whisky at dis­count prices

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - KASHIEFA AJAM

THE ANC and its youth league could soon sign a mar­ket­ing deal with Chivas Re­gal which would see the rul­ing party buy­ing the top in­ter­na­tional brand whisky at dis­counted prices.

A spokes­woman for Chivas Re­gal’s pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany yes­ter­day told Week­end Ar­gus: “They are drink­ing whisky and Chivas wants to be the whisky that they drink – in­stead of the op­po­si­tion, Johnny Walker.”

Talk of a deal was sparked af­ter Chivas Re­gal ended up in­ad­ver­tently spon­sor­ing pres­i­den­tial spokesman Zizi Kodwa’s lav­ish 40th birth­day bash at Taboo, the exclusive Sand­ton night­club.

Chivas man­age­ment said they re­ceived a con­cerned call from the night­club man­age­ment two days be­fore Kodwa’s Fri­day night bash last week. They were told the club had dou­ble-booked Chivas Re­gal’s “liv­ing with chivalry” brand aware­ness party with Kodwa’s bash.

The whisky dis­tiller sug­gested the club com­bine the two par­ties.

The bash was punted as the so­cial event of the year and was at­tended by the who’s who of the ANC and the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

Guests in­cluded youth league pres­i­dent Julius Malema, who is known for his up­mar­ket tastes; Deputy Min­is­ter of Po­lice Fik­ile Mbalula, and Deputy Min­is­ter of Arts and Cul­ture Paul Mashatile, as well as so­cialite Khany­isile Mbau, Gen­er­a­tions ac­tress So­phie Ndaba, DJ Sbu and kwaito duo TKZee.

A source said that af­ter Kodwa’s party, Chivas had ap­proached Luthuli House to sug­gest that the dis­tiller and the rul­ing party en­ter a mar­ket­ing deal.

“The deal will en­tail the rul­ing party buy­ing the whisky at dis­counted prices at its func­tions and al­low­ing Chivas to raise its mar­ket­ing stands at ANC func­tions and ral­lies,” the source said.

The Chivas spokes­woman, who re­fused to be iden­ti­fied, said it was sim­ply a busi­ness deal. And she stressed that the deal would not see Chivas en­dors­ing the ANC or spon­sor­ing its events with free whisky.

“We are an in­ter na­tional brand. We would never en­dorse the ANC or any other po­lit­i­cal party in the world for that mat­ter. I mean, what kind of mes­sage would that send to our cus­tomers? And also, we don’t want to alien­ate any­one.

“If the deal is con­cluded, the ANC will still have to buy the whisky, just like every­one else.”

ANC spokesman Jack­son Mthembu could not be reached for com­ment last night, while his col­league Is­mail Mnisi claimed he “doesn’t have a clue about a whisky deal”. Kodwa has also de­nied know­ing any­thing about a deal with Chivas Re­gal.

This is not the first time the ANC has been ap­proached to give com­pa­nies ac­cess to its in­flu­en­tial mem­ber­ship. It al­lowed Nic Wolpe, the son of anti-apartheid strug­gle leg­end Harold Wolpe, to sell 30 stalls at a re­ported cost of R5 mil­lion apiece to busi­nesses in a lux­ury tent, dubbed the Net­work Lounge, with al­co­hol and cigars on of­fer, me­tres from the ANC’s main ple­nary hall at its wa­ter­shed con­fer­ence in Polok­wane in 2007.

Ear­lier this month the ANC re­vealed that it was also sell­ing leather jack­ets. Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma danced in one of th­ese jack­ets – in a style called “The Pres­i­dent” – at the ANC’s elec­tion victory party in April last year.

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