ANC NEC member Enoch Godongwana said he wouldn’t rule out sabotage after gala dinner venue was plunged into darkness while President Cyril Ramaphosa was on the podium delivering his speech.
Ramaphosa addressed invited guests at The Ranch Resort outside Polokwane, Limpopo on Friday night.
Godongwana didn’t think it was an ordinary electricity cut that South Africans have become accustomed to.
“I don’t rule out sinister act with the electricity cut. In this area, electricity exists everywhere except in this venue, the possibility of someone having tempered with the electricity exists, I am not saying that’s a fact. I don’t, however, agree that generally the entire trip was marred by embarrassments…no,” Godongwana told Newzroom Afrika.
Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told reporters outside the hall that the electricity cut was just a technical problem, and wasn’t the ANC’s fault.
“It was a problem in the venue…we think its a technical problem. This is someone’s venue and it’s beyond our control. It’s an isolated incident…we booked a venue, lights went out.”
As Mashatile addressed reporters outside, the power went out again inside the hall.
Tables at the fundraising venue cost thousands of rands.
Sharing a table with Ramaphosa cost at least R1.2 million for those with deeper pockets.
Shortly after 9pm, guests were left in the dark as the electricity went off. Ramaphosa had to speak louder without a microphone, quickly concluded his remarks, and left the venue immediately.
The governing party is holding its 110th birthday celebrations in Polokwane this weekend.
The days leading to the main event on Saturday were been marred by disorganisation and chaos.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa was whisked away by his protectors from the Lillian Ngoyi Memorial Lecture hall, organised by the ANCWL.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe denied there were security concerns, saying the president had to leave due to non-compliance with Covid19 restrictions in the venue.
Earlier on Friday, supporters and members of the ANCYL protested outside the Polokwane Council Chambers where Ramaphosa was set to deliver the Peter Mokaba Memorial Lecture to honour the late firebrand youth leader.
The protesters demanded to be allowed into the hall which a capacity for 500 people.
The event was delayed for hours, prompting organisers to have Ramaphosa deliver his speech from the back of a van outside the council chambers.
The president will deliver the January 8 statement at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.
Only 2 000 people would be allowed in to be part of the celebrations.