Patrice Motsepe pays hefty sum for party pics

2013-12-01 10:00

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The ANC’s regular gala dinners are fast becoming a barometer for the amount of kitsch the ruling party can sell to itself.

Thursday night saw party bigwigs meeting at Midrand’s Gallagher Estate for yet another sumptuous presidential munch and chat hosted by the Progressive Business Forum.

The event was part of the ANC’s regular fund-raisers, where a seat can cost R2 500 and a table can fetch up to R25 000 – the most expensive seat being the one closest to party ­president, Jacob Zuma.

One of the highest bidders this week was mining mogul and philanthropist, Patrice Motsepe.

The ANC galas made headlines in April when a diner broke the record for the most money ever paid at auction for a work by a living South African artist.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu made the winning bid of R3.7 million for a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela by Sifiso Ngcobo.

In 2011, Shabangu bid R400 000 for Zuma’s famous biker jacket, which he wore on the campaign trail in 2009.

At Thursday’s dinner at which salmon mousse and sautéed garden greens featured on the menu, the first item to go under the hammer was a photograph of the ANC NEC top six members taken at the Mangaung Elective Conference by relatively unknown lensman, Rufus Thoke. It shows Zweli Mkhize, Cyril Ramaphosa, Jacob Zuma, Baleka Mbete, Gwede Mantashe and Jessie Duarte.

The picture was bought for R400 000 by Motsepe, who was perched bashfully next to Number One. He won another bid, paying R700 000 for a picture of Nelson Mandela framed along with coins minted depicting the faces of past ANC presidents.

As if acceding to peer pressure, Srinivasan?Venkatakrishnan,? another businessman who shared ­Zuma’s table with Motsepe, paid ­ R500 000 for a pencil portrait of Mandela.

The auction coordinator kept reminding bidders: “Don’t ask about the value of this picture. You are making a donation to the ANC.”

He echoed the theme launched by Zuma in his speech: “You must invest in the ANC?... When you give money to the ANC, you sleep wonderful and you dream wonderful. It is warm inside.”

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