South Africa

Party Funding

ANC charging R1m to sit with Ramaphosa at dinner

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and Secretary-General Ace Magashule during the party’s Limpopo provincial conference on June 24, 2018 in Polokwane. Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antoio Muchave

The elections race is in full swing and political parties are looking to fund their campaigns. President Cyril Ramaphosa is the hottest ticket in town and the ANC is offering business leaders the chance to sit with him for R1-million. It might be cheaper to simply join him on a Thuma Mina walk.

The ANC Progressive Business Forum (PBF) has issued invitations to a dinner on Monday offering business leaders the chance to interact with party heads, with tickets ranging from R1-million to R500,000.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the keynote address at the ANC Stimulus View Dinner, hosted at executive Johannesburg events centre Summer Place.

Only 100 people will be able to attend the exclusive event. Tickets are being sold in pairs, with two seats at Ramaphosa’s table going for R1-million. Two seats on Deputy President David Mabuza’s table will cost R600,000.

ANC leaders and Cabinet members will also host tables. Gwede Mantashe, Paul Mashatile, Jeff Radebe, Pravin Gordhan, Thulas Nxesi, Jessie Duarte, Ace Magashule, Lindiwe Zulu and Tito Mboweni are all listed as attending.

Two tickets at any of their tables are going for R500,000. The proceeds will go towards funding the ANC’s 2019 election campaign, says the invitation.

It outlines the country’s economic challenges and mentions Ramaphosa’s stimulus package and the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS), which “has not yet been seen on the bottom line,” it says.

The dinner will look at the ANC’s view on economic stimulus and how we believe the corporate South Africa can assist to bring economic change across key industries and sectors.

It will also allow business to interact with industry ministers directly and contribute insight into policy views and gain full insight into the relevant industries from the ruling party’s point of view,” it reads.

The invitation to participate within the ANC Stimulus View Dinner, has only been opened to key industry players to participate.”

Asked about the event, PBF convenor Darryl Swanepoel said: “We are just putting all the details together.”

He said the ANC decides how much to charge for such events and directed Daily Maverick to ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile for further details.

Mashatile and ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond to repeated requests to comment on the event since Thursday.

To book a seat at the event, the invitation requests guests contact the PBF’s Edwin McQueen. McQueen directed Daily Maverick to another official in the treasurer general’s office, who was unavailable on calling.

The ANC PBF was established in 2006 to build links between government, business and the ANC. It regularly hosts events and fundraisers, particularly around elections and at party conferences.

The Sunday Times reported in 2012 that business magnate Patrice Motsepe paid R500,000 to sit next to former president Jacob Zuma at such an event at the party’s Mangaung conference. In January, Sowetan reported that a seat at Ramaphosa’s table at a dinner ahead of the January 8 statement rally would cost R250,000.

Ramaphosa’s election was widely welcomed by the business community and he has spent considerable time wooing local and international investors in an attempt to revive the economy.

In 2016, former ANC elections head Nomvula Mokonyane said the party spent R1-billion on its local government election campaign. She and Zweli Mkhize, treasurer general at the time, later denied that the amount was accurate.

Civil society groups have launched a campaign to have Ramaphosa sign the Political Party Funding Bill before the 2019 elections, fearing he is under pressure to delay passing the legislation until after the vote.

The bill would significantly increase transparency in political party funding, which is still shrouded in secrecy, and parties would have to declare any private donations above R100,000.

In June, the Constitutional Court gave Parliament 18 months to pass legislation that allows for the recording and sharing of information on political party funding. DM


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