ANC employees paid, but strike not over yet

The ANC has finally paid its head office and other staff members, but angry workers appear unwilling to return to their posts until outstanding Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), medical aid and provident benefits are brought up to date.

The work stoppage by staff members, who had not been paid their salaries for months, has had a major effect on preparations for the party’s regional and provincial conferences, all of which have to sit ahead of the ruling party’s national elective conference in December.

Membership figures for branches, which still need to have their branch general meetings ahead of the regional and provincial conferences, are not being verified, effectively halting the process in several regions.

The National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) this week approached the high court for an order compelling the ANC to pay its members who work for the party.

Nehawu is an affiliate of labour federation Cosatu, the ANC’s partner in a tripartite alliance which also includes the South African Communist Party (SACP).

In an impromptu interview on Thursday, ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile confirmed that the staff members had been paid, but Mvusi KaNzimende, a spokesperson for the ANC employees, said this did not apply to all workers.

KaNzimende said that although the head office staff had all been paid, some employees in the provincial offices had not. Others had only been paid part of their salary arrears.

“The ANC paid the staff, but not everyone was paid in full. There are those who are owed [for some months]. The Eastern Cape has not been paid for December and January,” he said.

KaNzimende added that medical aid and provident fund arrears had not been addressed, nor had payment increments and several other issues over which workers had stopped working.

“We are meeting today, but the feeling is that nobody is going back to work until everybody has been paid in full. There has been no undertaking about when they will pay the medical aid and provident fund benefits and the UIF payments that have been missed,” KaNzimende said.

He added that Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters, appeared not to have proper human resources records: “They made arrangements with the provincial treasurers to pay the staff in the provinces, but they don’t seem to know who has been paid and who hasn’t.” 

KaNzimende said Mashatile had not communicated with the staff members about the payments.

Another employee, who asked not to be named, said that some staff members in the provinces had not been paid. “They have focused on people at head office to try to get them back to work. The issue is that workers are refusing to accept membership figures related to the BGMS [branch general meetings], so they are trying to demobilise the workers by paying those at head office in the hope that they will go back to work.” 

Addressing the media outside the home of former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale on Thursday, Mashatile said the ANC had paid salaries up to the end of January “and we don’t owe anybody”.

He said the ANC had “fundraised” the money to pay the salaries and that the party would, in future, ensure that staff members were paid timeously.

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

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