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ANC clear the air on Mbalula's 'we're not looking to spend more than R50m on election campaign' comments

23 September 2021 - 14:49
Fikile Mbalula said the ANC was 'not looking at spending more than R50m' on the upcoming elections. File photo.
Fikile Mbalula said the ANC was 'not looking at spending more than R50m' on the upcoming elections. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

The ANC has moved to clear the air after the party's head of elections Fikile Mbalula said it is not looking to spend more than R50m on its local government election campaign, ahead of the November 1 polls. 

Speaking on 702 this week, Mbalula said the ANC was relying on fundraising and donor funding to fund the campaign for the polls.

“In terms of our budget, it’s a moving target, so we are not looking at spending more than R50m in this campaign. It’s very short and we can live without other things.”

Mbalula said the ANC was working within “limited resources”.

“But in any budget, there are hidden costs that you may want to stretch yourself to a particular amount of money in terms of increases. We are working within the limited resources we’ve got,” he said. 

Addressing how ANC employees who have not been paid their salaries would feel about the party's expenditure, Mbalula said they “understand there is a campaign and there is no counter to the employees in relation to what is our priority”.

However, after the interview, the ANC paddled back on Mbalula's statement. The party said it has “no firm budget that is fully funded”.

“Election campaigns by their very nature are costly and run into millions. In light of this, we are hopeful that we will mobilise sufficient resources to mount an effective campaign that enables us to reach every voter,” said the party in a statement.

“Being mindful of the budget constraints, we are placing heavy reliance on our volunteers to directly undertake many activities that will reduce our costs. While financial resources are an important element in driving our wall-to-wall campaign in every locality, the strength of our volunteers will give our campaign the necessary momentum.

“Our ability to connect with the voters has never depended on the size of our election budget, but on our ability to make personal contact with them.”

Attempts to get additional comment from Mbalula were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article. The article will be updated once comment is received.

ANC money woes

Last month, the ANC started a crowdfunding initiative to raise funds, following its ongoing money woes and not being able to pay salaries on time on multiple occasions. 

The party shared banking details, asking the public and ANC supporters to make contributions.

It said the crowdfunding was aimed at mobilising members and supporters to participate in funding ANC programmes and activities.

“The ANC crowdfunding came into effect on August 12 to encourage ANC members and supporters to make a contribution into a centralised and single account. We are hopeful that the plan will generate interest in the sustenance of the organisation,” said the party. 

It said it would abide by the Political Party Funding Act, which requires a declaration of all donations of R100,000 and above, adding that it would declare the donations to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC). 

Addressing a media briefing last week, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said employees protesting against the nonpayment of salaries must produce records of the work they do for the organisation.

“It is important that those who approach the courts or law enforcement agencies to register their concerns accompany such with the contribution they are making to the organisation,” said Mabe.

“There are security guards who can produce a roster so the ANC is not taken for granted by people who cannot produce records and evidential proof of performing duties of the ANC. We are not playing here. We are a self-respecting organisation.”