The late payment of salaries for full-time ANC employees last month has caused anxiety among desperate workers, who think the party should rather do away with its “extravagant” 108th birthday celebrations in Kimberley, Northern Cape, on Saturday and instead ensure the financial wellbeing of staff members.
Luthuli House sought to provide assurance this week that the recurring unavailability of money for payments to staff members – including a decision to hold back on promised salary increases and a potential drop in take-home cash due to increasing deductions – did not spell a crisis.
The bleak Christmas for the governing party’s employees cast a negative light on the party’s financial stability and the work of ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, who was not available to comment this week.
Some of us had exorbitant bank charges as a result of the delay in paying our debit orders and we can’t afford a repeat of this
ANC employees who spoke to City Press this week said they were worried that, “after hosting the extravagant celebrations”, the party might “again” send them a communiqué informing them of imminent delays in payments – as was the case in December.
“We have already incurred financial setbacks following last month’s delay in the payment of our salaries.
“Some of us had exorbitant bank charges as a result of the delay in paying our debit orders and we can’t afford a repeat of this,” said a staff member working at Luthuli House.
The staff member said that “school fees, uniforms and stationery” needed to be paid for and bought this month, “so this party [the ANC] that advocates the empowerment of black people shouldn’t be the cause of our black children being kicked out of their classes because of a failure to pay their fees”.
Another staff member who spoke to City Press expressed similar concerns, saying that, although they had since been paid, the constant delays in salary payments did not inspire any confidence.
“This has been a recurring reality over the past few years – we receive emails notifying us of possible delays in payments.
The party should prioritise its own employees instead of hosting extravagant celebrations
“The party fails to factor in that such delays affect our payment of debts and, as a result, we find ourselves in further financial turmoil,” said the staff members who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation.
A staff member working from the Amaqhawe Building in Kimberley, Northern Cape, where the birthday festivities will be hosted, told City Press that “the party should prioritise its own employees instead of hosting extravagant celebrations”.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told City Press that the party “has never had a problem of staff not being paid”, adding that “there is no crisis in the ANC and those in the employment of the party are the ones who are kept updated, not the media”.
“The ANC does not owe an explanation to the media on how it relates to its staff; we don’t even know who among the staff told you that they were not paid because, from where we are sitting, we have never had that kind of crisis.
“If there are internal issues within the ANC, we communicate with those who are in the employment of the party. The only thing I can remember is that there were expectations to pay staff on the 20th [of December], but that is not necessarily the pay day.”
Mabe said that if staff members told the media that they were going to get paid earlier than usual in December, but that the party had paid them on the normal pay day, it was incorrect to say they were not paid.
He said that, “as matters stood”, everyone in the party preparing for the celebrations – “including all those in the employment of the ANC throughout the country – is now focused on celebrating the party’s 108th birthday and we are mobilising everyone – our members and all our friends – to join us in the celebrations … and deliver successful anniversary celebrations”.
In 2012, the ANC had reportedly made up to R65 million from state funding through the Electoral Commission of SA. However the figure has probably dwindled because the party has lost up to 34 seats in the National Assembly.
Before President Cyril Ramaphosa took over, a lot of donors, especially big business, had become wary of assisting the ANC out of concern about the direction the Jacob Zuma administration was taking the party, including allegations of state capture.