Power Goes Out During South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Speech at Fundraiser

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa conduct a press conference moments after concluding a virtual extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on a coordinated international response to the current COVID-19 pandemic at the South African Reserve Bank, in Pretoria on March 26, 2020. - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 23, 2020 …
PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images

The power went out Saturday night as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed a gala fundraising dinner for his ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), causing embarrassment to the government and forcing his evacuation.

South Africa has suffered from persistent power shortages in the past 15 years, thanks to poor management and the appointment of ruling party cronies to run state utilities, as engineers have been forced out through affirmative action.

Local news site Independent Online reported:

The power outage occurred at about 9pm while Ramaphosa was addressing guests at a gala dinner meant to raise funds as part of the ANC’s 110th year anniversary celebrations.

Organisers, party officials, ministers and business leaders who had paid hundreds of thousands of Rands to dine with ANC leaders at the Protea Ranch Hotel were left embarrassed as the lights went out while Ramaphosa was on the podium.

Ramaphosa’s presidential bodyguards, who were quietly sitting among the diners, sprung up and surrounded him at the podium when the lights went out.

The president was allowed to finish his speech with the help of light beams from TV news broadcasters. He later joked about the need to fix the country’s power issues.

Attendees attempted to gloss over the outage by singing party songs. Some on social media blamed a faction called the Radial Economic Transformation (RET) group, linking them (without evidence) to a recent fire in Parliament and vandalism at South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

Local authorities said that there had been no area-wide power outage due to “load shedding,” a process of planned outages designed to conserve scarce resources.

Some speculated that there may have been sabotage, given the growing factionalism in the ANC, and the president’s open criticism of the radical ANC Youth League, which he called an “embarrassment” in a speech on Friday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Photo: file

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