ANC staffers said they were encouraged by their discussions with party leaders during a picket outside Luthuli House on Tuesday but were less optimistic that problems with salary payment will be resolved.
The protest followed months of salary delays and few discussions with the party’s top officials. This led to frustrated employees at Luthuli House and provincial offices holding a lunchtime picket.
Reports of the ANC’s financial problems have dominated news headlines in recent years.
The M&G has previously reported that workers in Luthuli House headquarters were contemplating strike action after months of liquidity problems.
Staff members said their salaries were, in most instances, paid late, their provident fund payments were not made and their medical aid was suspended on numerous occasions.
The employees have now given the ANC seven days to produce a plan to rescue the party from its financial woes or face strike action.
In their memorandum, staff members said they want immediate payment of salaries for May; back pay for salaries that have not increased since 2018; assurances that their medical aid will no longer be suspended because of non-payment and end to problems with the provident fund.
“The issue about ANC going through financial challenges is known to members and staff. The leaders have said this is due to two reasons. The ANC does not generate profit, so it has been affected by the pandemic and the new party funding act,” said Mandla Qwane, who led the picket. “All these elements have affected the finances of ANC, but these matters were not around before 2018. These issues are just an add-on to a situation that has been there long before these matters came to play.”
ANC deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte, who received the memorandum, said all issues raised by the employees were legitimate.
She said the ANC has had difficulties with donor funding but assured staff members that the top officials would develop a plan for the party to recover from its financial strain.
“The difficult situation faced by ANC staff and by the ANC as a movement will require sober and decisive action. We are committed to concluding the process of addressing this situation head-on and within the shortest possible period,” said Duarte. “The movement is looking into all of these matters, and national officials at their meeting on 14 June and have resolved to meet all ANC staff within the coming week. We have a plan to manage the outstanding payments due to the provident fund and other third parties contributions.
Duarte said salaries would be paid, but this may not be at the end of every month. Salaries would not be reduced and if retrenchment was likely, it would be in consultation with staff representatives.
“We are in the process of doing a second audit of all our staff, and we wish to assert that we do not have ghost workers.”
Duarte said that when terms of office bearers ended, the party had chosen not to end the employment of their staff. The party had also continued to pay all long-serving staff members, even those who have retired. The party would review these decisions.
It would also ensure that employees would do a full day’s work.
But Qwane said: “We don’t know the plan. We don’t know if it is feasible, or practical or if there is a plan at all. It is only when we are presented with the plan, we can say we are confident that by the end of June, we will be paid on time.”