Pule Mabe shares how he'd turn ANC finances around as treasurer-general

22 September 2022 - 07:23
By Kgothatso Madisa
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe talks to the Sunday Times on September 21 2022 at his office in Luthuli house, Johannesburg.
Image: laister Russell/Sunday Times ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe talks to the Sunday Times on September 21 2022 at his office in Luthuli house, Johannesburg.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has outlined some of the strategies he would propose to the party to aid its ailing finances should he be elected treasurer-general at the party’s 55th national conference in December.

Mabe confirmed to TimesLIVE he would make himself available if enough branches nominated him and he met the required threshold to serve in the party’s top leadership.  He has already been approached and nominated by various ANC branches for the position of treasurer-general, some of which are in Gauteng.

“The fact that you’re talking to me from the headquarters of the ANC here at Luthuli House means that for the past near five years this is the work I have done on a full-time basis. I work for the ANC. When I wake up in the morning and come into work, my place of employment is the ANC,” Mabe said in a sit-down with TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

“So if members of the ANC see me fit to perform the role of treasurer of the ANC and make their own nominations, well it is up to me to affirm their confidence. What that means is that when they have gone out to nominate you to lead, affirming their confidence is a vote of confidence in them for the confidence they have shown in you, and you do that by accepting the role that they say you must perform. But you can only do that when they have expressed that en masse.”

Mabe is expected to go up against finance minister Enoch Godongwana, Ekurhuleni chair Mzwandile Masina and Eastern Cape executive committee member Andile Lungisa. Lungisa has, however, been suspended from the party until September 2023.

According to Mabe, the party would have to come up with other fundraising strategies, including crowdfunding, given the limitations brought by the Political Party Funding Act.

The ANC has continuously failed to pay staff salaries, as well as provident fund and medical aid payments, and even had its bank account garnisheed by the SA Revenue Service to claw back some of its debt.

The party has struggled to raise enough money to settle its monthly R18m staff salary bill.

One of Mabe's suggestions is to remove from the party’s wage bill some of the staff who could be employed by the government while continuing to work at Luthuli House.

“You could be able to have staffers of the ANC working at ANC caucuses but still being able to provide full-time service to the organisation,” he said. 

You need to change gear, and changing of gear requires that you change the mindset of people — those that are your members, those that are your leaders at any level
Pule Mabe

“You could have those who are elected full-time being MPs, like it is the case with other political parties, and having time to do the work of the organisation full-time. Because the single biggest cost of the ANC is human capital, it means that if you deal with that issue your biggest cost will actually be your election campaign.”

The party will also have to look at its internal finances by rationalising its staff complement.

According to Mabe, the party could do away with the hiring of a personal assistant for every senior management head, and instead have all current PAs under a single umbrella to service the entire organisation through a shared service.

“You see, if you have not retrenched, you have rationalised. You have ensured that you keep the resources that you have to now service the entirety of the organisation. So administrators are no longer linked to a person or a role, they are now linked to a function. So you begin reducing what you will be able to pay out.”

Mabe has proposed the party amend its constitution to allow for either two treasurers-general or a deputy. One would, he said, focus on raising funds while the other focuses on policy and oversight.

“For me, it's not whether the position is full-time or part-time. The biggest is the work associated with the office of the treasurer-general, [which] is huge. In fact, I am of the view that [the ANC should] create two treasurer-generals or a treasurer-general [and] a deputy TG — one who is responsible for policy and oversight and another who is responsible for fundraising and operations. In the current form, the TG has got to perform all of those functions.”

Mabe said ANC members in general would have to change their mindset around the finances of their party.

“ANC has got over 3,700 branches. Imagine this: just for starters, every branch of the ANC has got a minimum of 100 members. It means that at any given point, the ANC will not have less than 50,000 members. So you don’t need all 50,000 members. If a third of that, which is around 12,500 [sic], went out there to become a machinery that mobilises resources through crowdfund ing, you will pull in serious numbers.

“You need to change gear, and changing of gear requires that you change the mindset of people — those that are your members, those that are your leaders at any level. Change their mindset, make them realise that the success of the ANC depends on the actions they make or take themselves.”

Mabe has previously served as a treasurer-general of the ANC Youth League and is confident his experience will come in handy should he get elected.

He said one of the things the party would have to instil in its members and leaders is that fundraising does not rest only on the shoulders of the treasurer-general but that they all have to be part of a bigger strategy to raise funds.


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