ANC centenary bash could cost over R400m

Taxpayers will fork out more than R400-million for the ANC's centenary birthday celebration in the Free State if spending on infrastructure is included, the Beeld reported on Thursday.

This cost was in addition to at least R100-million budgeted by the ANC at national level, according to the report.

About R150-million had been paid to upgrade the Phillip Saunders Resort outside Mangaung, which will serve as the headquarters for the celebration.

Another R35-million had been budgeted to restore the Waaihoek Methodist Church, where the party was founded in 1912.

For renovations and improvements to the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, R200-million had been budgeted.

Free State premier Ace Magashule's house would be upgraded at a cost of R15-million, while Winnie Mandela's house in Brandfort and the historical Mapikela house would also receive millions for a revamp.

These amounts were gathered from analysing Magashule's budget speech, information published by the province and sources within government.

Casca Mokitlane, a Congress of the People member of the provincial legislature, told Beeld that as the centenary was an ANC celebration, it should be financed using only party funds.

Provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Roy Jankielsohn said it would be highly irregular for a political party to finance celebrations with funds from national and provincial government and municipalities.

He said the DA could approach the public protector.

About 120 000 people were expected to attend the main celebration in January next year.

The weekend would include an interfaith night vigil, an awards ceremony, a traditional cleansing and restoration ceremony, a presidential centennial gala and then the main celebration at the Mangaung rugby stadium. The main bash would start on January 6 and go on until January 8 2012.

ANC president Jacob Zuma was expected to deliver the centennial address at the stadium on January 8. Many international guests were also expected to attend.

The centenary celebrations would continue through 2012, with every month celebrating former ANC presidents.—Sapa



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