Speaker’s Ball 2017: National Speaker Baleka Mbete has been having a rough ride since the beginning of the year.
Last month, a poster emerged on social media showing a cap and T-shirt bearing National Speaker Baleka’s image and the words “BM17, Baleka Mbete, Incoming President”.
The posters circulated so speedily that it even got top members of the ruling party confused and dumbfounded. But Mbete, however, denied any involvement in the production or circulation of the electronic posters and other campaign items.
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She described the move as mischievous tactics aimed at tarnishing her reputation and political career. She also issued a statement on January 24 condemning the campaign paraphernalia.
Till now, the speaker is yet to unmask the masterminders of the controversial poster.
This time, another invitation card with the title ‘The Speaker’s Ball’ has emerged with her name tied to it.
Reports had it that the party bash invitation has been circulating in the country. The party was slated to hold in a plush Cape Town hotel on Thursday evening, immediately after President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address (SONA).
The Speaker’s Ball 2017, as gathered, was scheduled in celebration of the National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete. When the event was brought to light in Parliament, BuzzSouthAfrica was told that both the ANC and the speaker denied having knowledge of the party bash.
Before the emergence of the invitation, Parliament had earlier announced that the house had canceled this year’s Parliamentary dinner due to financial constraints.
When contacted last week, Parliamentary spokesperson Manelisi Wolela also affirmed that the party will not hold. Wolela reiterated that no social event will take place after the 2017 SONA.
In a bid to establish the organizers of the party, several inquiries were made. The feedback indicated that none of the respondents admitted that they were the organizers of the party are – irrespective of the fact that the invitation had Mbete’s face on it.
The ANC in the Western Cape disassociated itself from the circulating invitation. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the ANC had no knowledge about it, else the party’s logo would have been imprinted on the card.
“I don’t even see an ANC logo [on the invitation]. The invitation says the speaker of the National Assembly not the chairperson of the ANC,” Kodwa explained.
When the contact person, Gcinwa Magwaza was called, a lady confirmed that she was the organizer but declined to give details of the party.
The big question is “who are the sponsors of speaker’s ball 2017? In the past years, the state usually organizes a post-SONA dinner for MPs and other dignitaries in the government.
Embattled Jacob Zuma would deliver a State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 9 February. Remarkably, it would be his last as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) – that is if all goes according to plan.
According to his unrelenting antagonist and “commander-in-chief” of ultra-nationalist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, President Zuma is desirous of a third term just to escape prosecution.
Do you think Malema is making a valid point? Or should President Zuma ignore the big-mouthed leader?
Let’s hear you.