ANC will no longer have its cake – and eat it

2012-04-28 17:24

A proposal emerged from the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in March that party leaders should not eat a birthday cake in front of supporters at the party’s January 8 rallies.

The matter was raised as part of ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete’s report on centenary celebrations held in Bloemfontein, where a cake was eaten while members and supporters watched with envy from the stadium stands.

“It was proposed that for future January 8 celebrations the eating of cake should be made private, as it does not augur well to eat in front of our members and supporters while they are not eating,” the assessment of the centenary celebrations found.

It is the ANC’s culture to celebrate its birthday with a January 8 statement delivered by its president and a cake with black, green and gold colours, but members and supporters only see the cake from a distance, while leaders indulge in the sweet treat.

ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said everyone in the NEC agreed that the public cake-eating culture should be reviewed.

“The issue is how do you celebrate 100 years of the ANC with 150 000 people, when it comes to this area of eating cake? How do we tweak this culture and make it less insensitive?”

The cake proposal was first tabled at an NEC meeting in early February, barely a month after Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe caused a stir at the centenary party by saying if supporters did not have champagne, they could take photographs of their leaders drinking because leaders were drinking on their behalf.

An ANC NEC member said the cake decision was important because it put the party in a bad light if leaders ate alone.

“It makes us appear elitist. We are saying we either get enough cake for everyone, or we don’t eat cake at all.”

But the ANC is not saying farewell to its traditional birthday cake entirely. In future, the cake will be displayed at the stadium, but it will not be eaten in public.

Mthembu said the party was looking at other possible solutions like donating the cake to orphanages and schools, which he said was done with the rest of the 100-year birthday cake.

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