Big business coughs up R5m for seat at Polokwane

Big business is to fork out R5-million for a seat on the sidelines of the African National Congress national conference next month, with some of that money likely to end up in the party’s coffers, Business Day reported on Monday.

Thirty businesses have applied for a stall in the ANC’s network lounge, a luxury tent, with alcohol and cigars on offer, and which is mere metres away from the ANC’s main plenary hall.

Project organiser Nic Wolpe said the space was a lobbying environment that was commercialised, the Johannesburg financial daily said.

”The ANC leadership can interact with business in an informal alliance — it’s not unusual in Britain or US politics,” he said.

Wolpe ran the ANC’s network lounge through his company Ukwande at the party’s 2002 national conference in Stellenbosch, but was coy about how much ended up in ANC coffers.

”We did not necessarily pay the ANC directly. We received requests and then made donations. [The ANC] also asked us to pay some of their bills and we responded positively,” he told Business Day. – Sapa

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