ANC centenary tees off

2012-01-06 13:43

The ANC’s centenary celebrations teed off late but nonetheless enthusiastically as logistics delayed the start of the golf day.

Organisers could be heard scrambling for lists with names of players in the club house of the Schoeman Park golf club in Bloemfontein, as people milled about at the registration tables.

It seems about half of the people who pitched up for the golf day were not on the list, while there was also talk of an organiser withdrawing from the event at short notice.

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete at last got proceedings to start shortly after 10am, about an hour after Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was supposed to have teed off.

Motlanthe couldn’t make it.

Instead, Mbete, who apparently doesn’t play golf, got ANC veteran and MP Andrew Mlangeni, who is known to be a keen player, to tee off.

He did so amid cheers from the small crowd of businessmen.

Mbete said the golf day was the perfect way to mark the beginning of the weekend celebrations, which will culminate in a speech by President Jacob Zuma at a rally on Sunday.

“This is a good way to show commitment to the celebrations as well as the ANC. This is what your presence is really about,” she said.

Businessmen, professionals, politicians and high-ranking government officials all showed up for the day.

Even UDM leader Bantu Holomisa couldn’t stay away.

Holomisa, one of the most popular ANC leaders in the 1990s, said he always played golf with ANC politicians, but that didn’t mean he wanted to cross the floor.

But a fellow player quipped: “That’s what he says, but if he gets cut on the golf course, you’ll see his blood is black, green and gold.”

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane was also spotted at the golf day, as was government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, who said he was a player, but couldn’t stay as he had government work to do today.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who only returned from his holiday in Mauritius last night, was also spotted before tee-off. He didn’t want to reveal anything to journalists about the appeal of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s suspension from the ANC, expected later this month. Mpofu was defending Malema.

Players were kitted out in golf shirts in black, green and gold with the ANC logo on them.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu could not provide a list of sponsors for the day, but said this was a fundraiser for the ANC.

City Press managed to establish that SABMiller, the largest sponsor, was paying for the drinks; prizes, to be handed out at a dinner at the Bloem Spa Hotel tonight; as well as foot and neck massages for the players.

Deloitte gave a cash amount.

Outside the club house coins, pin badges, cuff links and scarf rings were on sale.

The pins cost R65 while the price of a framed set of coins, including a an art work in beads of the ANC’s logo and a picture of former president Nelson Mandela, was set to be auctioned tonight at a starting price of R120 000.

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