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Cape Town - “Cupid” visited before President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday evening, but he did not have wings.
He came in the form of jovial Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who sneaked around the National Assembly on a mission known only to him.
His Valentine’s Day goal soon became clear when he started handing out big bunches of flowers and bright red envelopes, just moments before Zuma was due to enter the Chamber and address the nation.
His first “victim” was Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who got the biggest bunch.
She seemed shocked and shrank into her seat, holding her hands over her mouth and trying to hide her embarrassment.
The Chamber erupted into applause, and delegates urged on the 84-year-old IFP leader.
In his excitement, Buthelezi dropped his envelopes and scrambled around the floor before moving onto the other recipients of his affections.
These included Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
Women really seemed to be on form in the Chamber, perhaps buoyed by the one-and-a-half pages dedicated to women-related issues in Zuma’s speech.
When members of the judiciary walked in, many of the fairer sex shouted “Malibongwe”, and demanded that more women be represented.
Malibongwe, or “let them be praised”, was a reference to the 20 000 women of all races who marched on August 9, 1956, to the Union buildings in Pretoria.
Zuma’s wives seemed in good spirits, considering their husband was spending the special day with the whole nation.
Ma Khumalo, Ma Ntuli and Thobeka Madiba were adorned in shades of pink and apricot.
The president’s newest wife, Gloria Bongekile Ngema, wore a sparkly blue top.
The National Assembly roared with laughter and applause when Zuma ended off his speech by wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. - Sapa