/ 18 August 2021

ANC begs staff to be flexible with their go-slow to help meet IEC deadline

Anc Celebrating Its Election Results At Luthuli House Photo Delwyn Verasamy
(Photo: Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

ANC general manager Fébé Potgieter has written to staff appealing to them to be flexible in implementing their go-slow protest to allow them to complete the processes of selecting candidates for elections. Workers embarked on the go-slow last month in protest against late salary payments

ANC staff members in provincial offices and the national headquarters have complained of late payments dating back two years. The Mail & Guardian has previously reported that workers at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters were contemplating strike action.

Employees said that, as well as their salaries often being paid late, their provident fund payments had not been made, and their medical-aid cover had been suspended on numerous occasions. 

In June the workers gave 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 demanded the immediate payment of salaries for May; back-pay for salaries that had not been increased since 2018; assurances that their medical aid would no longer be suspended over nonpayment of premiums; and a resolution to problems with the provident fund.

With a threat of a massive strike action, the ANC was again late in payment of staff, sending a letter on 16 June that it would communicate at a later date when staff would be paid. 

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told the media earlier this month that staff had been paid their July salaries, but one employee told the M&G that June salaries had not been paid and that the provident fund was 35 months in arrears. 

ANC staff told Duarte that they would embark on a go-slow, working only from 08.30am until 4.30pm on weekdays — and not at all during weekends. 

In their letter, they said the duration of the go-slow would depend on the ANC’s progress towards sorting out the remuneration problems.

On Tuesday, Potgieter wrote to staff informing them the party might not be able to meet a candidate list submission deadline set by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for local government elections scheduled for 27 October.

“ANC staff at all levels play a critical role in providing support to branches and regions, as well as to the regional and provincial list and vetting committees,” she said.

In May the ANC’s financial crisis was laid bare at a national executive committee (NEC) meeting, with treasurer general Paul Mashatile proposing a 50% staff cut. 

In a leaked recording, which the Mail & Guardian has heard, Mashatile can be heard saying he is preparing a comprehensive report to be tabled before party officials, detailing a number of recommendations they should consider, including increasing levies and membership fees.

“We are also looking at what we call resizing of the organisation.The officials have agreed that we will probably have to cut our staff by 50%, but those reports will come to the NEC. A lot of work is being undertaken,” Mashatile said.

“Comrade Fébé [Potgieter] is leading that process of restructuring and resizing. There is another team that is also looking at crowd funding and other aspects. We are also busy looking at fundraising for elections, and these reports will go to the officials on Monday.”