Monday, November 19

Seasoned auctioneer excites ANC elite

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President Ramaphosa addresses bidders at fund-raising gala dinner where mosaic of Mandela and poster signed by Cyril were up for grabs

Ian Wyles’s skill in extracting bids from an auction floor was witnessed by none other than President Cyril Ramaphosa last weekend when the veteran KZN auctioneer officiated at a top-level ANC fund-raising gala dinner.

Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address at the ANC Musa Dladla Region’s function at The Umfolozi Hotel and Casino at Empangeni. Two items – a special ANC poster signed by Ramaphosa and a mosaic depiction of Nelson Mandela – were the auction lots for the evening.

Their disposal was entrusted to the experienced Ian Wyles who had officiated at past ANC fund-raisers.

For the much younger Andrew Giddy, property manager at Ian Wyles Auctioneers, who attended the glittering event with Ian Wyles, it was an eye-opener. He relates his experience.

“It was a privilege but also a daunting task for us to raise funds at an event intended to do just that: raise funds – in this case for the ANC’s election campaign, an important cause for the party. The presence of the SA president added to our apprehension.

Ian Wyles (right) and Andrew Giddy of Ian Wyles Auctioneers pictured at the glittering ANC function in Empangeni where the company was the official fund-raising auction house. The auction provided funds of nearly R400 000 in total for the ANC. Picture: Ian Wyles Auctioneers

“We had expected to raise some tens of thousands of rand. But I could see that Ian had other ideas. He opened the bidding at R10000. The bids – applauded and cheered on by the entire room – soon gained momentum. Eventually, the crowd went wild when Ian managed a bid of R100000. But that was just the start. Now in full stride and feeding off the excitement, my adrenalin-pumped boss sent the bids soaring even higher – to over R200000.

“Then it became like a Wimbledon rally, the offering eventually reaching a quarter of a million rand. To deafening roars from the crowd – and a broad smile from President Ramaphosa – Ian finally brought the hammer down at even more: a staggering R275000.”

It was always going to be a hard act to follow when the Mandela mosaic, done by a local artist, was auctioned but the item nevertheless fetched an impressive R120000.

After the auction, Ian Wyles was personally thanked by Ramaphosa and by members of the ANC guests in attendance.

Wyles, despite decades in auctioneering, later admitted that this was a special milestone in his life.

“It was indeed a night to remember,” he added.

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