The ANC conference which is meant to end today had so many issues affecting the governing party and South Africa as a whole being trashed out. Among the issues discussed include whether or not the state government should shoulder the funding of political parties.
In the ANC financial report tabled at the 54th national conference in Johannesburg, the ANC party supported the motion that it would be better of political parties are being funded by the South African government from the fiscus.
This, according to the report, would go a long way in preventing parties from being dictated to by “unscrupulous donors” and manipulated by domestic or foreign capital.
Among other things recorded in the ANC report include:
– R47m in the red and is struggling to contain costs arising from elections and a large staff complement;
– Battling to pare down R255m in historic debt;
– Hit with lawsuits from service providers and has paid R68m in settlements; and
– Still fighting claims amounting to R27m.
The report not only presents a bleak picture of the ANC finances despite improved fundraising efforts, but it also had reports about how finances would be a tough issue for the party following the country’s sluggish economy which has already been battered by the rating agency’s downgrades.
The ANC outgone treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize stated that the ANC is 65% dependent on fundraising and donor funding for its operations and activities, making it vulnerable in the current economic climate.
“This does not bode well for future fundraising initiatives and presents a major risk to the ANC’s financial stability and cash flow that must be mitigated,” he says.
“Even though we experienced a gradual decline in the number of employees from 2013 to 2015, the number of employees started to rise again mainly because of the leagues, provinces and regions filling vacant posts,” he said, admitting that the current political instabilities and the recent ratings downgrade has helped to cripple the nation’s economy and are further mounting pressure on businesses and labour..
“The salary cost is a major cost driver and normally accounts for 40% of the operations cost. The salary cost has increased by R28.8m in the past five years.”
“Such challenges of infighting, factionalism, misconduct and ill-discipline, [alongside] perceptions of corruption, arrogance and various other ills, have a negative effect on the support the ANC receives.”
Mkhize also noted that there have been recent examples of donors subverting the will of voters by “dictating terms to some parties, creating distortions as those parties exercise their policy choices”.
This, he said, makes it important for South Africa to free itself of the possibility by funding parties from the fiscus.
“That way, the control of the political parties in South Africa remains securely in the hands of South African people,” he says.