Reddy’s diamond fiasco

2013-03-09 00:00

PRESIDENTIAL benefactor Vivian Reddy may have acquired a second diamond in the rough — and one not altogether wanted.

Reddy’s lavish birthday celebrations a fortnight ago, styled on the theme “Diamonds in the rough”, included a promise to “adopt” one youngster and sponsor his or her education, including their tertiary needs.

Reddy also offered his personal mentorship as part of the package.

That good fortune belonged to Siseko Dlamini (12) when he found an artificial diamond stashed in a gigantic cake that Reddy had ordered for thousands of kids to chomp on.

The “diamond” was an instant passport to a better life for Siseko, who attends a special-needs school in Phoenix. Reddy made the most of the moment and went public with his gesture of generosity.

But now the 60-year-old millionaire and ANC donor has a small hangover to deal with.

A second child has come forward this week, claiming that she too had found a “diamond” in her piece of confectionery. The cake had been cut up and sent to schools around the province after the weekend bash at uShaka Marine World in Durban.

Whether it was a blunder by Reddy’s party planning committee or a hoax designed to cash in on the money man’s largesse, no one is saying.

But the reaction to the “discovery” clearly suggests that only one diamond was destined to go in the cake, which reportedly weighed more than a ton.

Roderick Ephraim, of the brand and corporate communications department in Reddy’s company, Edison Power, said the claim was being investigated.

“Our chief operations officer, Sindi Mzamo, has since visited the school and child in question. She has spoken to the child and her parents, and is submitting a report to the organising committee of the recent celebration. We will then meet early next week to discuss the findings, and thereafter we will be in a position to comment.”

Weekend Witness was unable to contact the child or her primary school in Izingolweni.

Reddy, in a letter thanking media for attending, mentioned Siseko and declared his birthday a positive news item for the nation.

“The story of my 60th birthday celebration made the front pages of six national newspapers, with widespread readership covering over 4 000 column centimetres and extensive radio and TV coverage reaching out to millions. The event also went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

“It seems South Africans want to read and hear positive news,” he wrote.

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