Buying access to ANC

2012-10-30 00:00

BUSINESS people who want to hob nob with ANC bigwigs in Mangaung in December could conservatively add a total of R10 million to party coffers for the privilege.

Those who are prepared to pay the top rates will be accommodated in a marquee decorated by leading fashion designer and event planner Gavin Rajah.

The marquee will include its own fancy restaurant.

Yesterday, it emerged that the exhibition space for the congress to be held at the University of the Free State from December 16 to 20 is almost sold out.

Asked what the cost of holding the five-yearly conference will be, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told The Witness last night: “No, no, no. That is not your business. You can ask me about anything else, but that is not your business.”

Renier Schoeman, co-convener of the Progressive Business Forum (PBF), the ANC business unit that is organising the programme, said: “We have never had such a good response to an event. I am very happy — people are interested in what will happen at the Mangaung conference and want to be here.”

Schoeman noted that these types of business opportunities were available at party congresses worldwide, notably in Britain.

“Private exhibitors that have been involved in the past are back almost without exception and there are several new interested parties,” he said.

While the ANC is tight-lipped about the exhibitors and the tariffs charged, a brochure distributed to businesses, provides for a variety of exhibition options and the chance to rub shoulders with the party’s top brass. As was the case with the party’s policy conference earlier this year, the business leaders will get a chance to discuss the economy and overall government policy with top ANC thinkers at a dinner and several breakfasts.

On December 15, President Jacob Zuma will host a dinner at the university’s biggest hall.

Several hundred tickets for this event, at a price of R2 500 a person, have already been sold.

The business breakfasts will be offered daily, with speakers including the ministers of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies; Finance, Pravin Gordhan; Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, and the Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel.

According to the brochure, businesses can choose from six packages, each named after a metal, from titanium at R500 000 to nickel at R25 000.

The titanium package buys:

• The main table at the presidential dinner. Of the 12 guests, the business may nominate nine and the ANC three.

• Prominent display of the business’s banner at the dinner.

• The business may send three guests to each breakfast.

• A three-by-three-metre exhibition space with a table, three chairs and a power point. This may be staffed by three people throughout, who will have access to the VIP business lounge.

Advertising space, at an additional R10 000 to R25 000, can be bought in the business breakfasts, exhibition hall and business lounge.

Given past controversy, no parastatals have been approached to exhibit this time around.

The Sunday Times reported that mining magnate Patrice Motsepe had already paid R500 000 to sit next to Zuma. He is a regular at ANC gala dinners, having done the same at the party’s policy conference in June, as well as its 2010 national general council in Durban.

The newspaper reported that major private sector companies had also already booked and paid for their seats, including Absa, Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Cell C.

Schoeman told the Sunday Times that the money raised would be used to offset the costs of hosting the conference.

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