Celeb branch meeting fails to take off

2012-11-03 13:35

The Midrand Protea hotel is an informal hub for Gauteng’s tenderpreneurs. Situated halfway between Joburg and Pretoria, and just a short hop off the N1, the four-star hotel has seen many business deals being signed and celebrated.

But last Sunday afternoon, comrades gathered in the hotel that boasts Italian granite, cherry wood finishes and a lofty glass-and-wood ceiling for an ANC branch meeting.

The meeting was to decide who the Lilliesleaf Farm branch would nominate to lead the ANC after Mangaung.

These Pringle-shirted members looked comfortable as they queued to sign the attendance register, and then picked up some bottled water – still or sparkling – to sip while they waited.

Some members opted to wait in the hotel bar. Later, Dutch courage fuelled the struggle songs with which they opened the meeting, three hours late.

They don’t call this the celebrity branch for nothing. In attendance was fired National Prosecuting Authority boss Menzi Simelane, as well as former president Thabo Mbeki’s right-hand man, the Reverend Frank Chikane.

The chairperson opened the meeting by calling for a substantive discussion on what had happened since Polokwane, and whether the branch is happy with what the post-Polokwane leaders have done – it was clear that he was not.

Once he welcomed the media, my colleague and I settled in our seats to get ready for a fascinating discussion.

But it was not to be. The branch could not quorate because there were not enough people to make up the 50% plus one a branch meeting needs to take binding decisions.

The meeting had to be disbanded, and comrades walked back to their parked BMWs before a typical Highveld storm broke out. But some stayed behind in the bar to plan their next attempt.

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