National

Guests fork out R500 000 to share a table with Zuma

Ahmed Areff, Genevieve Quintal

ANC delegates and business people will have to pay at least R500 000 to be seated at the presidential table at the party's Business Forum gala dinner.

President Zuma and his deputy Kglema Motlanthe will be the guests of honour at the 'lead tables' at the Progressive Business Forum gala dinner. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

PBF co-convener Renier Schoeman said he could not provide an exact figure of the price for an individual ticket at President Jacob Zuma's table.

"It is at least R500 000 [collectively] to sit at the [president's] table," he told reporters in Bloemfontein.

"The seats have been filled. We are not exactly sure whether the number [of seats] could be 10 or 12, because of demand for the venue."

He said the price for tables for Zuma or his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe would be more expensive than regular tables.

Schoeman said the prices would provide "healthy competition" to those willing to sit at the lead tables.

At least 900 paying guests would be catered for at the gala dinner.

About 50 ministers, their deputies and national executive committee members would also be in attendance.

'Need some relaxation'
Schoeman said 15 foreign ambassadors, mostly from the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) countries, were invited to the event.

"This dinner, we think, will be spectacular," he said.

"At a national level, to my knowledge, this is the biggest fundraiser [for a political party]."

He said local musicians would entertain and "relax" guests.

"We need some relaxation ... after all the accreditation [for the conference] is done."

The PBF would also host business breakfasts with ministers throughout the conference.

About 200 guests would be addressed at the breakfast on Sunday by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

On Monday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would address guests.

On Tuesday, the PBF would host Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, and on Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

The PBF also set up an exhibition tent near the ANC's main plenary marquee.

About 70 businesses and organisations would be exhibiting.

The ANC's national conference is scheduled to start in Mangaung on Sunday. The party's top six officials, as well as the national executive committee members would be elected by delegates over the course of the week. – Sapa.

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