Durban - Business people attending the 60th birthday bash of flamboyant security tycoon and ANC supporter, Roy Moodley, in Durban on Sunday night got a hint from the guest speaker, President Jacob Zuma: vote for the ruling party for business stability.
Business and politics were intertwined and if the latter went “haywire”, so too would their businesses, Zuma told them at the horse racing-themed party at the Durban International Convention Centre.
“There is a particular organisation, that Moodley votes for, to keep the country fixed,” he said.
Zuma told guests, including King Goodwill Zwelithini, local and foreign business people, and politicians, that the ANC had discussed a role for Moodley over the next few months.
South Africa goes to the polls on May 7 and Zuma said that while he was confident the ANC would win again, “We (are) only worried about the percentage of win.”
“You’re a friend, comrade. We have something to do with you during elections which we have discussed with you,” Zuma said.
“It will be impacting on people in different ways… I want him to impact on certain people in a few months. Your friends and colleagues here vote well,” the president urged potential voters.
Moodley celebrated his birthday with his family, MECs, several deputy ministers, racehorse owners and business people from South Africa, Spain, Israel and Dubai. Joining him and his family at his table were the monarch and the Correctional Services Minister, S’bu Ndebele.
Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, also attended.
There was an awkward moment when the king apparently felt affronted by the lack of formality when he was called up to the stage by Moodley’s son, Selvan, to propose a toast.
In awe that his father was able to bring people of such importance together – he described his father as being “indeed the most powerful man in the country” – he simply called the royal to come up.
However, the king did not answer the call and sat, saying softy, “I am not going anywhere.”
After being coaxed to speak, the king urged Moodley to help contribute to the development of the country.
“We need to change lives of people in the country and remind ourselves of right or wrong. Build more friends for development in the country,” he said. “If we do wrong it will go wrong. Alleviate poverty with employment we can offer.”
He also spoke about immigrants, saying: “We cannot live with immigrants who did wrong in their country and come and live here. One day they will vote us out.”
During supper, Kwazulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo apologised to him from the stage on behalf of the guests and family. Dhlomo said the king had not been treated according to his stature.
As the king was leaving the party, Dhlomo asked the men to stand up and the women to remain seated. He then advised on how to see off Zwelithini: One hand to be raised above the shoulder in a stop sign gesture and the words, Wena we Ndlovu Bayede (Hail to the kings) had to be said out loud.
Zuma said it was important to show his face to his friend, Moodley, whom he helped cut the cake.
Moodley said it was a surprise party arranged by his wife and children. He had been overseas and had returned to Durban on Friday
His comment that he planned to fill Moses Mabhida Stadium for his 70th birthday seemed to astonish some guests. He said he expected Zuma to be there because the president would be around “for the next 30 years”.