While the ANCs’ senior members met to discuss its “step aside” resolution, workers in its Luthuli House headquarters are contemplating strike action after months of financial problems.
Workers were scheduled to meet the top officials on Tuesday morning but it was unclear whether that meeting would start after the chaos of the NEC meeting on Sunday, which resulted in the meeting extending into Monday.
In a letter dated March 23, staff members said wages were paid late every month despite an agreement in their employment contracts and in personnel policy that the payment of salaries would take place on the 25th of each month.
One staff member said the ANC had changed the payment date without consulting staff.
“People were paid in batches. We had a staff meeting last week that ran for over two hours. People are angry, we can’t resign because we are going to be the biggest losers,” the employee said.
In their letter to ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, the staff members said that with the pandemic persisting, “we are likely to have this uncertainty for the foreseeable future” and requested necessary arrangements be made with creditors.
Another employee said the ANC was forcing them to go on strike. The senior staff member said among some of the difficulties experienced by employees was the non-payment of the company providence fund for more than 13 months, no increment of salaries for the past three years and the suspension of the staff medical aid fund.
“Families of comrades who died during the pandemic have not received anything because the provident fund is inactive. This is something that we can report to the relevant law enforcement structures,” said the senior staff member.
Employees told the Mail & Guardian that they were now looking at harsher action to get the employer’s attention.
“The ANC has two options, the possible option is to go for liquidation, they check who is owed how much and see how to proceed. The other alternative is to have a different provident fund. They are supposed to pay a certain portion of the fund but they don’t,” a staff member said. “We are not sure if we will get our salaries this month. It’s really bad. We are told we should not embarrass the organisation but we are not branch members who are deployed, we are not volunteers. We are professionals. It can’t go on like this.”
The ANC’s financial woes have been widely reported; the party has failed to pay staff on several occasions. Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa had to intervene when Luthuli House failed to pay salaries.
Treasurer general Paul Mashatile apologised when December 2019 salaries were not paid before Christmas and blamed the late transfer of funds from donors.
In July last year, the Daily Maverick reported that the ANC employs 387 staff nationally, has operational costs of R6-million and a salary bill of between R20-million and R21-million.
The party receives R120-million from the Represented Political Parties’ Fund, the report said.