ANC coughs up R2.2m for 103rd b’day bash

2014-12-21 15:00

Preparations for the ANC’s annual January 8 celebrations are in full swing, with the party paying just more than R2.2?million on Friday to secure the Cape Town Stadium as a venue for its 103rd birthday event.

The race is now on for ANC leaders to make sure that party members and supporters will fill the 64?000-seater venue in the party’s weakest province.

City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, Garreth Bloor, said the ANC had paid the full amount the city had quoted it for hiring the venue.

The City of Cape Town demanded that the ANC pay the full amount upfront. It was not willing to negotiate any discount or any deal with the governing party due to its bad credit record with the city.

The ANC still owes the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) R1.5?million from almost four years ago after it hired the venue for its provincial conference in February 2011. The city is a shareholder in the centre.

According to ANC sources in the province, party leaders tried, but failed, to negotiate with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to get a discount on the venue fee.

A member of the provincial executive said the ANC’s leadership met De Lille to ask that the party’s outstanding debt at the CTICC not be used in the determination and the process of hiring the stadium for the January event.

The source said the two parties also discussed the restrictions on where and when the ANC could put up its posters for the event.

ANC NEC member Mcebisi Skwatsha, who is a former chairperson of the Western Cape ANC and who sources have claimed was leading the team sent to negotiate with De Lille, laughed off the suggestion that he tried to negotiate the fee.

“I don’t know about that,” he said, laughing.

De Lille’s spokesperson, Pierrinne Leukes, confirmed that the mayor met the ANC and explained that the CTICC was run by a municipal entity, the Cape Town International Convention Centre Company, and “it is for this reason the booking and usage of the CTICC is separate from the usage of the stadium, which is run by the City of Cape Town”.

Meanwhile, the ANC has put together a formidable team of senior leaders to do the groundwork in preparation for the event.

Next month’s event will be the first time since 2004 that the national birthday celebrations are held in the Western Cape.

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa are among those who have led blitz campaigns in the province in recent weeks to mobilise ANC supporters leading up to the event.

Usually, the party’s national executive committee members hold such mobilisation campaigns only in the week before the event, but as the Western Cape is the ANC’s weakest province where the rebuilding process has failed, the process has started early.

Mbete campaigned in three of the ANC’s six regions in the Western Cape earlier this month.

Provincial sources admitted that the national leadership could not take chances in the Western Cape and had sent its “big guns” to mobilise its members to avoid embarrassment.

“Remember, January 8 is an international event,” said one provincial source. “And with the Western Cape scenario, they can’t allow the ANC to be embarrassed.”

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