Par­ty­ing and pol­i­tics take over Florida Road

Sunday Times - - News Politics - By ZIMASA MATIWANE

● Dur­ban’s Florida Road re­sem­bled an ANC rally venue this week as party mem­bers made the fa­mous nightspot zone their base.

While party lead­ers were all over the prov­ince drum­ming up sup­port for the man­i­festo launch held yes­ter­day at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium, all roads to the arena took a de­tour to Florida Road, the eter­nal party scene in the city.

Since Thurs­day, rev­ellers in ANC T-shirts have flocked to the precinct.

As ex­pected, the crowd favourite was the Cubana Ha­vana Lounge.

From Thurs­day, the nightspot was packed with politi­cians, busi­ness­men and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Dis­graced politi­cian and Umkhonto we Sizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive Carl Niehaus was in the com­pany of Si­fiso Mahlangu, for­mer po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor of the now de­funct The New Age news­pa­per.

ANC Tsh­wane chair­man Kgosi Maepa, ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa, spin doc­tor Vuyo Mhaga and eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity tourism head Phillip Sit­hole were to­gether.

Restau­rant staff ran up and down to make the most of what could be their best night af­ter the fes­tive sea­son.

Many took to the dance floor but some moves clearly re­vealed age‚ and on­look­ers burst out laugh­ing.

Moët & Chan­don and Veuve Clic­quot cham­pagne, Hen­nessey and Rémy Martin co­gnac, Bom­bay gin and aged bot­tles of Glen­morangie and Glen­fid­dich whiskies were pop­u­lar.

Tra­di­tional lead­ers were rep­re­sented by Zolani Mkiva, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Congress of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers of SA.

In­side the Cuban-style restau­rant there was lit­tle space to move and the smoke com­ing from cigars and hub­bly-bub­blies cre­ated the Latino at­mos­phere the es­tab­lish­ment is known for.

The pave­ment looked like a lux­ury-brand car deal­er­ship with a Mercedes-Benz large peo­ple-car­rier, a hand­ful of Mercedes-Benz GLE SUVs and a Mercedes G Wagon.

Even for those who don’t fre­quent the party scene, there was no es­cap­ing the ANC’s pres­ence in Dur­ban. From King Shaka In­ter­na­tional Air­port through to the city cen­tre, ANC posters an­nounc­ing its man­i­festo launch lined even the tini­est lanes. ANC flags flew high and ANC-branded cars were seen all over the city.

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