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S.Africa forks out $1.6 mln on foreign guests at ANC bash

South Africa’s government spent 12 million rands ($1.6 million, 1.2 million euros) on hosting foreign guests at the ruling ANC’s recent 100-year celebrations, the foreign minister said Thursday.

The state picked up an 11,014,000 rand tab to house 50 heads of states and government and nine dignitaries with their delegations at the African National Congress bash in January, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in a parliamentary reply.

Another sum of just over one million rands was spent on logistics, including meals, at the three-day event in the central city of Bloemfontein, which marked the founding of Africa’s oldest liberation movement.

The celebrations included a golf tournament, animal sacrifice, concerts and a mass rally and were attended by countries that supported the ANC’s anti-apartheid fighters and supported the fall of white-minority rule.

The event was also used for meetings on South Africa’s foreign policy, and to lobby its nomination of a former foreign minister as the next African Union chairperson, Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The lavish celebrations drew criticism for the former liberation movement, accused of failing to focus on ongoing problems like poverty, inequality and unemployment.