If the intolerable heat didn’t get us . . .

2010-09-26 10:11

Sunday, September 19 2010
Hundreds of journalists standing and sweating in the queue – if you can call it that – for registration at the Durban City Hall. Nothing’s working. Nobody seems to be in charge and everybody’s making us stand in lines that aren’t moving.

For some reason, the ANC doesn’t want to use the photos we sent them three weeks ago and Robert Gumede’s computer system for capturing new photos has broken down for the third time tonight. Hope we don’t have to sleep here.

Monday, September 20 2010

Zuma is on top form. He’s looking snazzy in that leather jacket in the ANC colours. In his speech, he has just caned all those naughty boys and girls in the party who’ve been screaming at each other and their elders in public, and have generally been behaving badly.

The podgy fellow from Limpopo just turned grey in the face and hid behind somebody to get away from the cameras.

He’s so traumatised that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gives him a hug.

There’s some kind of weird underground love thing going on between the SABC and the ANC – there are two media tents and the SABC has colonised both. The rest of us are standing in the sun.

Kgalema Motlanthe’s having fun, though. When ­delegates start singing Lyho uSolomon in plenary, he grabs his camera and starts shooting from the stage.

Lindiwe Sisulu’s great. She’s looking as glamorous as ever. She breezes up to Gate 3, but doesn’t complain when the security guard demands to see her name tag and makes her queue with the masses.

She doesn’t even moan when one of the first ladies and her Cabinet colleagues jump the queue and pass her. It seems as if the stories about her tantrums are ­somewhat exaggerated.

Tuesday, September 21 2010

We’re locked out for the rest of the week while the comrades inside decide the future of our country. The ANC security guys are really crazy. Lindiwe Sisulu should give them all jobs in the army and send them to Somalia.

They’ve fenced off half of Durban and are refusing to let people walk across the road from the exhibition centre to the parking lot.

Wednesday, September 22 2010
The SABC imperialists have finally given up their evil grip on the second media tent. Now we actually have ­somewhere to sit down and write. It’s hot here in Durban.

The security guys are getting crazier by the minute. We’re invited by the president’s people to take pictures of him visiting the business guys who have paid through their noses to set up stands, but these nutters won’t let us in.

Eventually somebody intervenes and we get in.

Angie Motshekga briefs us on the ANC’s plan to “engender” the comrades and teach them to treat women as equals. If the behaviour of the security guys at the gates and the comrades partying in Florida Road’s Cubana is anything to go by, she’s got her work cut out for her.

Thursday, September 23 2010
Third day of being locked out of the meeting we came to cover. The only glimpse we have of what’s going on is when we get called in for briefings with ANC committee chairs after sessions are finished. This is going to be a long, long day. The 11am briefing only starts at 12.30pm.

The next one starts at 3pm and the rest are going to go on until 1am.

Everybody’s getting confused, even ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. He refers to The New Age newspaper as “New Era”. Maybe he’s not confused and knows ­something the rest of us don’t.

Pallo Jordan is usually calm but today he’s grumpy. For the first time he comes out publicly in defence of the media appeals tribunal that he did not seem to ­believe in all along. He’s so gatvol, he switches to ­Afrikaans and tells a Beeld journalist that it’s rich of him to lecture the ANC about media freedom.

Friday, September 24 2010
We’re here at last. It’s the final day.

Trevor Manuel’s a funny guy. He describes the slug-fest economic transformation commission as the “Red Bull commission”, and says the discussions were “flavourful” like Durban curries.

Then, at last, we’re allowed back into the hall to hear the conference declaration. But, of course, nobody’s told the security psychos about this and they throw us out again. Finally, we get in when the declaration’s read out and the president addresses the meeting.

His leather jacket’s really cool. So is he. He tells the naughty girls and boys in the party off one last time. Cross the line and I’ll bring out the cane, he says.

Everyone’s loving him, especially when he sings us a farewell Awuleth’ Umshini Wami before we leave.

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