Zuma’s assurance to donors okay, say analysts

2013-01-14 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s message to ANC donors was simple — keep the cash rolling in and your business future is secure.

And this, according political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana, was perfectly acceptable.

Ndletyana pointed out that there was nothing unusual in the ANC soliciting donations from businesses and telling them that they would do well if they supported the party.

The ANC held a lavish fund­raising gala dinner as part of its anniversary celebrations in Durban on Friday.

The Sunday Times estimated that a whopping R21,4 million was raised during the function.

The dinner was the first for newly-elected treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, and is set to go a long way in paying for the ANC’s increasing operational costs and mounting debts.

Businesspeople reportedly bought tables for the gala dinner with price tags that ranged between R30 000 and R600 000.

Mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe reportedly paid R600 000 to sit with President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.

The ANC also raised money from portraits auctioned at the dinner.

The first portrait, of former presidents Nelson Mandela, O.R. Tambo and incumbent Zuma, was sold for R750 000.

Two portraits of the new top six leaders fetched a whopping R1,4 million and R1,3 million from the table of traditional leaders and Nafcoc boss Joe Hlongwane respectively.

Shabangu had the winning bid of R3,7 million for a portrait of Mandela, titled Charity Begins at Home and painted by artist Sifiso Ngcobo. She just pipped Hlongwane, who had bid R3,5 million for the same painting. Guests were told that another portrait would be painted for Hlongwane.

Speaking before the auction, Zuma said the dinner was to greet business “friends” and encourage their relationship with the ANC.

Zuma also said it was a wise investment for businesses to support the ANC.

“We are not forcing people. You can support us. If you go beyond that and become a member, your business will multiply. Everything you touch will multiply,” he said.

“You are a wise businessman if you support the ANC. Without the ANC, I don’t know where this country would be. I’m sure it will be a very funny country,” he said.

Ndletyana said businesses donated to parties when convinced a particular party was viable and would protect their interest.

“Businesses make a donation hoping that they [a preferred political party] will come up with policies that are pro-business,” Ndletyana said, adding he doubted that the calls for ANC support by businesses would automatically translate to preferential treatment in awarding of tenders.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the courtship also should be seen within the context of the party having its own share of challenges in raising funds. “They are openly in courtship with businesses to raise funds for their own functioning,” Fikeni said.

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