There’s only one campus conference venue to be at if you’re a very, very important person

2012-12-20 00:00

THE PLACE to be at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung, if you consider yourself a Very Very Important Person, is the Progressive Business Forum (PBF) Lounge.

The lounge is run, ironically, by former apartheid deputy minister Renier Schoeman.

The PBF area is made up of three sections: a dining room and an exhibition area (both of which are open to all), and The Lounge (my capitalisation, because of its importance). The dining room sells rather ordinary food, reasonably priced, but it is a place where one is bound to bump into any number of ministers and top businessmen seeking their favour.

The exhibition is where you can buy anything from ANC shoes to

T-shirts, collared shirts and wine.

Its also the place to learn about the work of various companies, like African Rainbow Minerals, Old Mutual, Absa, Nedbank, FNB, Cell C, Group 5 and Vivian Reddy’s Edison Corporation, which is show-casing electricity meters build in association with a company that operates out of Atlantis in the Western Cape. Surprisingly, none of the major parastatals, such as Telkom, Eskom or Transnet, are exhibiting at the PBF exhibition.

Female security staff, and not the burly ones who are found every­where else, stand at the entrances to the lounge, making sure that only selected guests get in.

Once you get inside, you are disappointed. It is nothing special, with a few rather ordinary white couches and a few tables.

There are several pictures of former ANC luminaries on the wall. Three flat screen TVs keep the guests informed of the goings-on inside the conference, for those who do not want to brave the excessive heat in the poorly air-conditioned marquee that’s the nerve centre of Mangaung.

Talking about air-conditioning, it was only slightly better in The Lounge.

About the most impressive thing in The Lounge is the bar, which displayed a range of good wines, alongside bottles of Johnny Walker Platinum Label, Johnny Walker Gold Label Reserve and, probably disappointing for the VVIPs, Johnny Walker Black Label.

Most of the times I have been able to sneak a look into The Lounge, it has been empty. Maybe that’s an indication that it does not meet the expectations of the targeted VVIPs.

Or it could also just mean that everyone has been too busy at the conference to enjoy The Lounge.

• Fisher is a former editor of The New Age and the Cape Times.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.