Durban - Durban multimillionaire couple S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane are splashing out, hosting a star-studded ANC election campaign youth festival this week.
The controversial couple, who have been dogged by tax evasion and fraud charges, will be hosting the event at New Beach on Friday to encourage the youth to vote.
The festival slogan is “I’m young, smart and I vote ANC” and the party’s provincial chairman, Senzo Mchunu, and national executive member and former police chief Bheki Cele are expected to speak.
Cele, a close family friend of Shauwn, the daughter of late ANC councillor Dumazile Flora Mkhize, has attended several parties at the couple’s plush uMhlanga home.
Shauwn and her company Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport cc, were acquitted of tax evasion charges earlier this year.
Fraud charges in a separate matter were also withdrawn.
The 12-hour free street party is to include guest appearances by celebrities Bonang Matheba, Minnie Dlamini, and Terry Pheto and soap stars from Generations, Isibaya and Muvhango.
Musicians Professor, Dr Malinga, Big Nuz and DJs Oskido, Sbu and Black Coffee are to perform.
The DA’s Zwakele Mncwango said on Monday that the Mpisane-ANC festival came as no surprise as the couple were “politically connected” and “channelled money back to the ANC”.
He said Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport had been awarded hundreds of millions of rand in contracts for low-cost housing by the eThekwini municipality, despite allegations of shoddy workmanship.
The Mercury has reported that Zikhulise has been listed among the municipality’s top 15 suppliers, having secured R445 million in contracts in the 2012/13 financial year alone.
Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said the ANC had “nothing to lose” by hosting the event with the Mpisanes.
“It is quite apparent scandals like Nkandlagate or the party associating with certain groups of people do not affect the electorate. The ANC could even gain votes because the youth will associate these DJs and celebrities with the party and think it is cool to vote for them.”
Ndlovu said the festival could be viewed as “payback” for the Mpisanes.
“The Mpisanes are not the only business owners who associate with the ANC. While others choose to be involved in subtle ways, the Mpisanes are making a public statement.”
Responding to e-mailed questions on Monday, S’bu Mpisane said it was his “fundamental right” to choose whom to associate with.
“I grew up a member of the ANC in Lamontville and it would not be prudent to desert it now that we are in business. I could not ask the youth to vote for another party other than the organisation that brought change and democracy.”
Mpisane declined to say how much money would be spent on the festival.
Commenting on the allegations made by Mncwango, he said the DA was entitled to express its opinion, but it did not “deserve his response”.
The ANC’s provincial spokesman, Bongani Tembe, said that the party often held events in collaboration with business owners.
“For this event we just happened to partner with the Mpisanes,” he said.
“It is nothing new.”
Tembe denied the allegations made by the DA regarding the event.
“What the DA is saying about the Mpisanes channelling money is completely incorrect,” the spokesman said.