The Scene: Politics and glamour don’t mesh in SA

2013-02-24 10:00

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Mangaung’s mayoral dinner was a lesson in how not to host a swanky event

Why, oh why, won’t South African politicians learn from their US counterparts that it’s okay to rock the red carpet?

Just as we were recovering from the plethora of garish matric dance-style dresses on display at the Valentine’s Day state of the nation ramp, the provinces showed us their worst. This week, some provinces held their state of the province addresses, which are supposed to be accompanied by mayoral gala dinners.

So off I went to the Mangaung metro’s city hall for a peek at politicians, socialites and businesspeople. After all, this was the place dripping in ANC swag just two months ago.

What a total letdown!

The dinner, on the eve of the state of the province address on Wednesday night, was a public relations lesson in how not to host a swanky event.

The invitation clearly stated 6pm for 6.30pm, but guests were still roaming around outside more than an hour later. The entertainment, in the form of a choir, only kicked off after two and a half hours. Even by then, guest of honour Free State Premier Ace Magashule was still nowhere to be seen.

Thabo Manyoni, executive mayor of Mangaung Metro Municipality, was also missing in action with no apology or explanation. As for the formal dress code, it clearly did not spell tuxedo or dark suit for the males – and not a single graceful gown swept the carpet either.

Half the tables in the hall were empty too.

Qondile Khedama, the municipality’s spokesperson, said the dinner was delayed because Magashule insisted on seeing all the projects around the city that he was going to mention on Thursday during the state of the province address. Apparently, the MECs, the deputy mayor and the hostess for the night, Connie Rampai, members of the mayoral committee and officials had to accompany him.

This meant at least half the guests and the hostess were off on an early evening excursion with the guest of honour.

The entourage only arrived almost four hours later, when we also heard the mayor was out of the country on official duties.[gallery ids="43706,43707,43708,43709,43710"]

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