/ 14 September 2009

ANC wrestles with funding at Eastern Cape conference

The ruling party’s treasure chest is fast depleting due to the effect of the recession as well as the influence of the Congress of the People (Cope), the party’s outgoing provincial treasurer Thokozile Xasa reported to the Eastern Cape ANC conference this weekend.

In a confidential treasurer’s report, Xasa said: ‘The drying up of donor funding and changing trends in the economy left us only relying on councillor levies. The changing political landscape as well as the economic recession later had a negative impact.”

The Mail & Guardian has obtained a copy of the report.

Cope is the official opposition in the province and is competing with the ANC for fundraising.

Xasa discussed the report in a closed session of the conference.

She also warned against donors opting to fund the ANC to further their own interests.

‘In future, resource mobilisation — especially during campaigns — is open to manipulation by people who derive personal gains out of it. A proper management strategy needs to be developed.”

The provincial leadership had to cash in investment policies to the tune of R1,6-million to fund their election campaign. Another investment policy was recalled, but the amount was not mentioned in the report.

Xasa said the funds — totalling R1,2-million — were supposed to go to branches, but the money was never transferred and impeded the capacity of branches to do their work.

ANC councillors are also compelled to pay 3% of their income to the ANC, but this was not done regularly, says Xasa.

‘Debit orders moving forward should be regulated as a matter of urgency,” Xasa said.

She mentioned that supporters preferred to finance ANC programmes rather than give cash to the organisation itself.

The province aims to have 100 000 members by 2012, which will add R1,2-million to the provincial coffers. Each member pays R12 annually.

The conference also saw an end to the bitter leadership contest when the provincial health minister Phumulo Masualle beat provincial finance minister Mcebisi Jonas with 1 031 votes to 930.

Masualle is also the national treasurer of the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Jonas had been the firm favourite before the conference — held every five years — but the decision by rural development minister Gugile Nkwinti to throw his weight behind Masualle swayed the vote. Nkwinti is the chairperson of the Cacadu region, a small area in the Little Karoo.

This saw Masualle’s votes rise by 100.

The conference, which started on Thursday, spent almost three days disputing the credentials of the delegates.

The disputes centred around the admission of 70 delegates from the OR Tambo region (around Mthatha) as well as the admission of the Veterans’ League, a new structure in the ANC, which is recognised on national level but not on provincial level. This saw 50 voting delegates from the Veterans’ League, believed to be supporters of Jonas, being shown the door.

The new ANC leadership in the Eastern Cape is Masualle as chairperson, Nkwinti as his deputy, businessman Oscar Mabuyane as secretary and his deputy is Helen August. The treasurer is Thandiswa Marawu.

The lengthy discussion on credentials meant the conference had inadequate discussions on organisational renewal. A provincial general council will be organised to debate policy issues, given that there was not time for the planned breakaway sessions in commissions.