ANC cannot explain its huge expenses

The party’s financial report tabled at last weekend’s provincial congress raised concerns that “local election teams and MPs have failed to account for funds allocated”.

Five million rand for last year’s general elections was earmarked for the province from the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters and another R4-million from the provincial legislature for political programmes.

The report, presented by then ANC provincial treasurer Susan Dantjie, shows an organisation struggling to regulate its finances because there was little internal control over procurement management. There was also no register of donors, no supporting documents to verify payments made to suppliers, a lack of proper management over political party funding and no proper record of the party’s employees.

Auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo, which has audited the finances of the party in the province for the past two financial years, gave the party a disclaimer of opinion, meaning it had significant uncertainties about the appropriateness of parts or all of the financial reports.

“We cannot continue to allocate funds to election teams when they fail to account, otherwise we will be forced to consider …
centralising payments of all expenses during [the] election period,” said Dantjie’s report.

Three-quote system
The party wants to introduce a system that requires three quotes to be sought for services or goods and funds would be allocated on the basis of requisitions.

The ANC in the province received R3-million in levies from 17 out of 23 municipal councils. This is a portion of councillors’ salaries that deployees contribute to the party.

It raised a further R3-million from a golf day and gala dinner held at Sun City and another R10-million was collected through donations.

Though all branches have increased membership fees from R12 to R20 a year, the report noted “we have … not yet realised the benefits of such increases because the province is yet to receive [the] full allocation of its membership fees from national office”.

There has also been a reduction of seats in the provincial legislature, which reduced the party’s funding.

The financial report noted that “some of the comrades have developed a wrong tendency of raising money in the name of the organisation but depositing less money than they have collected”.

The report said there is a likelihood that the ANC could have sometimes “paid for services or goods that were never supplied or rendered”.

Land purchase for ‘ANC village’
Despite its financial difficulties, the provincial party bought land for R1-million in July last year that it plans to use to establish what it termed an “ANC village”. The property is in the Mahikeng central business district and has been set aside “for future business development for the party”. It said progress has also been made in acquiring two other buildings next to the party’s provincial office, Mphekwa House.

Dantjie, now the party’s deputy provincial secretary, would not comment on the financial report.

“When I presented [the] state of finance report at conference, there was no media. It was a closed session,” she said.

ANC North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said, aside from its problematic finances, the provincial party had mostly stabilised, adding that it was “so far, so good”.

“It is quiet in our province. It is not what it was like before,” he said.

But in his organisational report to the conference, Legoete said infighting and “destructive contestation” in party structures remained a challenge for the ANC.

“This is at the centre of the resurgence of factionalism in the movement where contestation is neither political nor ideological, but driven by narrow interests of accumulation and the disregard of the political consequences to the glorious movement of our people – the ANC.”

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail Guardian’s political editor.

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