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‘We are focused on the local government elections,’ ANC tells employees after three months with no salary

The ANC has sent yet another letter to its employees, this time saying it will not pay outstanding salaries for the months of July, August and September, which are due on 25 September. 

In the letter, seen by the Mail & Guardian, ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule wrote: “We do regret the hardship and the uncertainty that this causes staff and their families and this is deeply regrettable. The ANC, over the first fourteen months of the Covid-19 pandemic and challenging economic situation, has kept its commitment to staff to pay full salaries each month, albeit late, and not to retrench. 

“This is the first time that we are delayed with three months of payments. We are in a challenging position where we have to also raise resources for local government elections, and budgets for elections have been reduced to an absolute minimum.” 

Potgieter-Gqubule added that the ANC appreciated the commitment and dedication of staff members who, despite these difficulties, diligently serve their organisation.

“We will continue to communicate on this matter as information becomes available,” she ended. 

This comes after ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula announced during an interview on a radio show on 702 that the ANC’s budget for this year’s local government elections could amount to R50-million. Mbalula said there might also be additional hidden costs. 

Responding to questions, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party has internal platforms to have discussions with employees on all matters of concern, including salaries. 

“We have always been open, frank and transparent on any matter. The commitment by those who are in the employ of the ANC to continue putting their best foot forward at times under difficult conditions has been humbling. We know fully well that it is only when we all work together that the party can emerge victorious at upcoming local government elections set for the 1st of November 2021,” he said. 

Staff members across the country recently suspended their strike action after the ANC pleaded with them to help with election work. 

In August, Potgieter wrote to staff appealing to them to be flexible in implementing a  go-slow protest to allow them to complete the processes of selecting candidates for elections.

After failing to pay salaries in August, employees embarked on a full-on industrial action. 

ANC staff members in provincial offices and the national headquarters have complained of late payments dating back two years.

Employees said that in addition to 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.

But the ANC was again late in paying employees, sending a letter on 16 June that it would communicate at a later date when they would be paid.

In August, the party launched a crowdfunding initiative to help pay for salaries and rid itself of its debts. The ANC said in early September that it had paid the delayed salaries of its junior workers through money raised.  

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 M&G has heard, Mashatile says 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.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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