National Assembly Speaker and ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete has moved to allay speculation around who is behind the “Speaker’s Ball”.
Speculation has been rife on who exactly was hosting and paying for the ball, which will be held on Thursday following President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The ANC on Wednesday was adamant that the ball had nothing to do with the party, and the only event they were hosting was the “People’s Assembly” on the Grand Parade.
On Wednesday Mbete said the ball was a private dinner hosted by the Speaker of the National Assembly for stakeholders, colleagues, friends and comrades.
“This dinner is not hosted nor funded by neither the African National Congress nor Parliament. It is a private dinner,” she said.
This was an annual ball which was hosted for the first time in 2016, she said.
It was intended as an annual meeting and networking opportunity.
The ANC statement on Wednesday was issued as an attempt to deal with the confusion around the event. Parliament has for the past three years forgone its annual post-speech dinner to cut costs.
“In this regard, it would be both unimaginable and improbable for the Speaker’s event to then be funded by the institution. Any insinuation to this effect is rejected with the contempt it deserves,” the party said.
ANC leaders are expected to head to the People’s Assembly in Cape Town’s CBD immediately after the SONA, where thousands of supporters will gather under the theme “radical economic transformation”.