R3m to sit with Number 1

2014-12-23 10:45

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A R3-million platinum price tag has been placed on President Jacob Zuma’s 10-seater table at the gala dinner to celebrate the party’s 103rd birthday next month.

This is according to Western Cape secretary Songezo Mjongile, who said table prices for the 1 000-seater dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on January 9 started as low as R150.

The gala dinner is among a number of events organised for the party’s annual birthday celebrations. They culminate in the megabash on January 10 at the Cape Town Stadium, which was hired for just more than R2.2 million, according to the City of Cape Town.

The ANC has kicked into gear earlier than usual for its January 8 birthday celebrations in a bid to ensure the event is a success in the DA-controlled Western Cape.

“Everything is in place, and all services are being paid,” said Mjongile.

“All we are doing now is the last touch-ups. There are no buts, even the doomsayers will be disappointed at the turnout.”

Although the event is still weeks away, already 100 000 leaflets have been printed and were being distributed, said ANC Western Cape spokesperson Cobus Grobler, who was also upbeat, anticipating an “overflow” of supporters to the stadium.

ANC national executive committee members were deployed across the region to spread the word in the countdown, he said, with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana handing out pamphlets in Delft yesterday.

Confirming that the stadium hire fee was just more than R2.2 million, Councillor Garreth Bloor, mayoral committee member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, said payment had been received upfront.

The fee also includes other city services including a comprehensive transport plan.

“The city has handled this in the same manner as any event being held at the stadium,” he said.

“The fan walk will be in operation, together with a MyCiTi shuttle service and special parking for buses making their way to the CBD,” he said.

But Grobler complained that the cost was “exorbitant” for the estimated 52 000 people they expected to fill the stadium, which he described as a “white elephant”.

The ANC has arranged more than 400 buses, 30 trains and 1 000 taxis to the stadium.

City Press has reported that ANC chairperson, Baleka Mbete, the party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and party spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa are among ANC leaders who have led a blitz campaign in the province in recent weeks to mobilise ANC supporters building up to the event.

Usually the party’s national executive committee members hold such mobilisation campaign only in the week leading up to the event. But with the Western Cape being the ANC’s weakest province where the rebuilding process has completely failed, the party started mobilising weeks before the January 10.

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 with the Western Cape, and had sent “big guns” to mobilise to avoid embarrassment.

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

Kodwa said it was usual for national executive committee members to be deployed to a host province as part of build-up mobilisation programme and that Cape Town was no exception.

“January 8 is not a Western Cape event , it is a national event to be held in the province, celebrating history and birthday of the ANC,” he added.

Zuma is due to deliver the keynote address, which will outline the party’s programme of action for 2015.

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