He sent a message in the last minutes, disappointing scores of people.
The office of South African deputy president DD Mabuza says the man really wanted to come to the show of his friend, businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla just that he got seriously held up in Western Cape and then later in Gauteng on the day.
Mabuza was scheduled to address the Mpumalanga Show on Friday mid-day when it officially kicked off but didn’t show up, instead sending a message at the last minute that he was no longer coming.
Spokesman Thami Ngwenya said Mabuza had to be really busy with parliamentary work in Cape Town on the Friday and later flew to Gauteng where he also got quite busy with government work.
“I see there are others who say he snubbed the show. The deputy president cannot snub the show, like I’m saying he had commitments in Cape Town,” Ngwenya said when he spoke to the 013NEWS reporter over the phone on Sunday afternoon.
“He was definitely going to come. When he realised he was being delayed due to these commitments he requested the organisers to proceed with the opening,” Ngwenya said.
Sgudla, a controversial businessman who is also the leader of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation group of Mpumalanga, is the man behind the Mpumalanga Show together with business partner Brian Ring.
Both Ring and Sgudla own the White River Saw Mills, a timber producing company that was two years back involved in tussle with workers after a protest against a 78c wage increase.
Speaking to journalists soon after the show had officially kicked off on Friday mid-day, Sgudla said they were happy to see how much of a success the show had become though this year’s event was without a government partnership.
“Mpumalanga is the biggest in mining, forestry, agriculture and if you look at the power stations most of them are here in Mpumalanga. But ever since Mpumalanga has never showcased. So that is what we are showcasing – mining, agriculture, forestry, everybody is here,” Sgudla said.
He then took a swipe at Premier Refilwe Mtsweni, accusing her of being “scared of beautiful things” after she apparently refused to partner with or fund Sgudla’s show.
“Refilwe Mtsweni dumped the partnership between the Mpumalanga Show and the provincial government at the last hour,” Sgudla said.
When it first began last year it had the full support of the Mpumalanga government and then Premier Mabuza attended, officially launching it.
“Mtsweni said to us there is no money. That’s what she said to us and we said, ‘Okay, it’s fine we will continue without you,” the outspoken Sgudla told journalists.
“If you see this year, this show was done by us. No government was involved and it’s very successful you can see yourself,” he said.
“That is why you do not see any Premier here. There is no Refilwe Mtsweni here. There is nobody. Refilwe is scared. Very scared. She won’t come closer to here. She is scared of beautiful things,” Sgudla alleged of her.
Mtsweni would have introduced Mabuza on stage had he come to address the official opening on Friday but as a result both didn’t come and tried to send public works MEC Gillion Mashego to come speak but Sgudla refused, saying Mashego was “a nobody”.
The show involved various companies and other individuals coming to showcase what they offer – banking companies, mining, farming, forestry, tourism, car dealers, food producers while attracting thousands of people. It started on 30 August and ended on 2 September 2018.
In the meantime, City Press reported over the weekend that Sgudla had been promised R15 million by the Mpumalanga government but were now being told they would get only R2.5 million “putting the show in severe financial distress,” Sgudla said in a letter the paper saw and sent to Mtsweni about two weeks back.
“This letter serves to inform you that you will not be required to introduce the honourable Deputy President of South Africa Mr DD Mabuza on August 31 or to officially open the Mpumalanga Show on August 30 2018,” Sgudla said to her in the letter dated 24 August 2018.
(edited by ZK)
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