ROAD TO ELECTIVE CONFERENCE
The ANC’s money: Mabe, Masina and Lungisa may be in the running for one of the toughest jobs — treasurer-general
The ANC treasurer-general is essentially the lifeline of the party, but there seems to be very little interest from ANC bigwigs to occupy the position. However, three contenders have shown willingness to take up the role so far.
The treasurer-general position may be the toughest job in the ANC’s top six and requires an individual with an untainted reputation, passion for fundraising and principles grounded in honesty. The position should attract experienced and passionate members who will be able to uphold the name of the party.
This is according to former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, who was elected to the post at the 2007 conference in Polokwane.
“[Many seem to be] avoiding a position which is actually the lifeline of the movement, and it is sad. We should have candidates who will stand out and acquit themselves in terms of what I have described to you, who are determined to bring the best life into the organisation in terms of resources. That is the most difficult position in the top six that requires the commitment of a cadre.
“It should be a very honest person who looks after the brand ‘ANC’. Once there is a whiff of corruption around that person, you will not be able to raise money effectively. A treasurer represents the aspirations and values of his or her organisation. That is what you sell… you are promoting an organisation that supports democracy. We are a leading ruling party, we represent the aspirations of the majority. People buy into those aspirations, [they] don’t buy into hot air, they do not buy into corruption.
“If you hang around here and compete and fight for space with other officials, you are not going to make it because no one is going to fight for space with you. Others will be focusing on politics. Your focus is on money and money and money,” he said.
The treasurer-general’s office in the governing party has been under pressure lately as it has not been able to raise funds to pay its R17-million salary bill in the past year. The party has also not been able to pay its portion of provident fund contributions since late 2018.
Paul Mashatile, the incumbent, has tried to introduce new ways of fundraising, but with few results. Besides lobbying for more funding from the government, the ANC launched a crowdfunding campaign and tried to increase membership fees.
The party has blamed its financial woes on the Political Party Funding Act, despite it being implemented only last year.
Earlier this month, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) reached an agreement with a pension fund for ANC employees to get the party to pay R10-million a month until its arrears are cleared.
Below, we look at three possible contenders for the treasurer-general position.
Former ANC Youth League president Andile Lungisa told Daily Maverick he would be keen to stand for the position. The former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor and ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee member claims his peers have been egging him on to contest. He said he would do so only if it would advance youth league policies tabled before the league was disbanded.
“Remember that clarion call is made by a generation led by comrades who are part of 2008. It is the only generation post-1994 which came with a programme of action in their conference of 2011. It was called ‘Economic Freedom in our Lifetime’. That programme has not been implemented broadly in the movement and I then remain as the face of that generation, because comrade Julius Malema ended up leaving the ANC and starting the EFF.
“That is why I am saying when my name is raised by that generation, I have no issue… even in the past four years, in the past 10 years, we have been standing on the topic of economic freedom in our lifetime,” he said.
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Lungisa believes the young people of the ANC cannot wait around in the hopes that power will be handed to them.
“Power is not handed over to the next generation, the younger generation must fight for power. They must go on the streets and the structures of the ANC to gain power. The people who are speaking of a generational mix are those who want to accommodate stooges and clowns in their own ranks and they will call it a generational mix because they want to choose amongst themselves and say: ‘We can pick that one, we cannot pick that one’.”
Lungisa says he is up for turning the ANC’s financial situation around and claims it is possible through radical reforms.
“What made it too difficult for comrade Paul [Mashatile], which can also continue to make it difficult for anybody else when the policies of the organisation are not changed… is when we have not changed the status quo, it is when we have not changed the patterns of ownership of the means of production in this.
“If we come in, as those who are part of the [younger] generation, we will be able to deal with their response in this country, not in a cosmetic way, but in a radical way. When we change those reforms, it will be easier for them to fund-raise,” he said.
However, Lungisa’s ambition of being part of the ANC’s leadership faces a major hurdle — the ANC’s Electoral Committee prohibits anyone who has been sentenced to more than six months of imprisonment from running for a leadership position.
The former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 after he smashed a full jug of water over the head of his fellow council member Rano Kayser during a meeting. He spent two months in prison before he was paroled in December 2020.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe says he is willing to take up the position if the branches nominate him. The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member deems the position to be one of great importance for the organisation and believes much attention should be given to ensuring that staffers are paid.
“Structures of the ANC are going to nominate as of their wishes and will. Have I been approached? Of course, yes. Provinces, regions, branches of the ANC… came to me about making myself available, but it is all in the detail.
“This position has to do with the wellbeing of the workers of the ANC and we have been inundated with the issues of non-payment of staff and pronouncement by the FSCA on our deductions. So, it is a very challenging position,” he said.
The former ANC Youth League treasurer slammed rumours that he was eying the presidency position, saying this was a deliberate move to throw him off the race for the treasurer-general position. A digital poster purporting that Mabe is campaigning to lead the party started making the rounds on social media recently.
“I saw a poster and its intention is to shift my eyes from the ball,” he said.
— Queenin Masuabi (@Queenin_M) August 16, 2022
Lobbyist and David Bopape zonal coordinator, Sipho Sibiya, said Masina, the current Ekurhuleni chair, had shown his leadership capabilities while mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni and there was no doubt he would be a good fit for the position.
“You look at the fight around the university in Ekurhuleni, it has been a fight that has taken years and a number of people have been trying to advocate for it. When I took over the term of office, [Masina] clearly stipulated what must happen and who is competent to assist us in ensuring that we have that particular university being realised.
“I mean, if you had been able to get two consecutive clean audits as the mayor, and that speaks volumes, we strongly feel that he is a strong man with a strong character and he understands the challenges that the ANC is faced with currently,” Sibiya said.
Masina was recently re-elected, by a narrow margin, to lead the region following a row over quarantine votes which the party had disregarded in the final results. However, Sibiya believes this should not be a deterrent for his campaign.
“The provinces and the delegates will speak, but what we know is that it was a heavily contested regional conference. There is a strong backing for him in Gauteng. So, we feel strongly that he will be able to garner support to win the particular position,” he said.
While these three are being touted now as possible candidates, it will be up to the branches to name their candidates when the process gets under way officially on 7 September. DM