It's been a very long night for the delegates. Walking from Marula, the UFS residence where I am staying, to the media centre, I met Khumbulane Ntusi and Bheka Cele, both councillors from the Hibiscus Coast municipality on the KZN south coast. Both declared their allegiance with large portraits of Zuma emblazoned on their chests. They had only got to bed after 5am, when voting was finally over. Now they were off to their commission meeting in the big tent.
One gets very little sleep here, going purely on adrenaline and then sweating it out in the big tent. Just as Khumbulane was remarking that at least they were getting a fair bit of exercise, walking a couple of kilometres between their residence and the big tent every day, a huge black car came to a halt beside us and invited us in. At first, we thought the driver had mistaken us for members of the NEC but then he explained that Nissan was doing a promotion today. And one of the perks was impromptu lifts for delegates. One can only hope that a clear line is drawn here: the Nissan we are being driven in costs over R700,000, our friendly driver informs us.
Transport is symbolic here. The blue light brigade learnt from Polokwane how much their blaring imperious passage annoyed the thousands of delegates trudging along in the hot sun, being rudely hooted out of the way by some VIP. At Mangaung, ANC VIPs (except Trevor Manuel) still drive around in their black monster cars but the blue lights don't flash and they don't hoot.
The rest of us walk. Unless Nissan is trying to get business out of you.