The power went out at the Protea Ranch Hotel, Limpopo, as ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa was addressing the guests at a fancy gala dinner fundraiser ahead of the party’s 110th birthday on Saturday, 8 January.
ANC GALA HIT BY POWER OUTAGE
Tickets for the Friday night fundraiser sold out, the most expensive of which – for a seat next to Ramaphosa himself – went for R1.2 million.
The electricity cut out at approximately 21:30 and a calm Ramaphosa, illuminated by television camera lights, managed to speak for a few more minutes despite the disruption and his security detail’s eagerness to whisk him to safety.
Moments after leaving the stage, Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza were taken from the venue and the power supply returned 15 minutes later.
The cause of the outage is unclear; however, eyebrows are raised, as it is not the first time Ramaphosa has been escorted from an ANC function in Limpopo this week.
According to Daily Maverick, Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile and spokesperson Pule Mabe said the disruption was caused by “a technical glitch.”
Others seemed convinced that it was the result of the party’s internal factional battles. Energy Minister and ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe said as much to Daily Maverick – “I think somebody’s mischievous.”
Mantashe, however, did not want to blame the factional battles outright. He told Newzroom Afrika that some people use their freedom to “disrupt the institutions of the State” – seemingly a reference to the Parliament fire and attack on the Constitutional Court this week.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa was escorted from an ANC Women’s League event – minutes after arriving – because the gathered crowd was not adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.
At the Peter Mokaba Memorial Lecture – held earlier on Friday – Ramaphosa’s address was delayed because a crowd showed up and demanded admission but only a limited number of people were allowed in the venue because of COVID-19 regulations.
Ramaphosa eventually addressed the crowd outside the Polokwane Council Chambers. He criticised the youth and said they should be more like the late Mokaba, a struggle veteran and former leader of the ANCYL.
Ramaphosa will speak again at the ANC’s birthday rally in Polokwane on Saturday.