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Cash-strapped ANC wants media to pay to cover its December elective conference

Cash-strapped ANC wants media to pay to cover its December elective conference
Paul Mashatile (ANC Treasurer general). (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

The ruling ANC alerted members of the media that they would be expected to pay to cover the conference at Nasrec, which gets under way in 37 days and where delegates will vote for new leadership. 'We don’t want you complaining about water, we want to make sure that all of your requirements are met,' said Pule Mabe.

The media will for the first time have to pay to cover the ANC’s 55th national elective conference scheduled for December 16 to 20, the ruling party announced on Wednesday.   

This comes as the party battles space constraints owing to high volumes of media personnel attending its conferences, among other factors. 

National spokesperson Pule Mabe told journalists at a media walkabout at the Nasrec conference venue in Johannesburg that although the party often struggled to meet its financial obligations, including paying staff salaries on time, it was not looking at making a profit through making the media pay. 

“The ANC is not looking to profit from this exercise, but we want to accommodate everyone – we don’t want you complaining about water, we want to make sure that all of your requirements are met.”   

While the move sets a precedent, it remains unclear whether it will be how the ANC does things at future conferences. Quizzed on this, Mabe did not rule out the possibility. “I don’t know, the treasurer-general of the ANC will decide once elected.”   

The cost to cover the conference has not been announced – the party said it was developing packages which would be finalised by the end of the week. 

“We will do our best to make sure that we accommodate your requirements, like we have always done in the past. If the exercise succeeds, it then allows me to create a bigger space for the media. In the last policy conference we had over 300 journalists here, so if we don’t meet each other halfway, it will be difficult.”  

Mabe revealed the party had received more than 500 applications from the media to cover the conference, and this was associated with high costs. 

“The idea is not to close anyone out but to make sure that it works for everyone, even the lowest denominator,” he said.

Money troubles

The treasurer-general’s office has been under pressure lately, since it has not been able to raise funds to pay its R17-million salary bill over the past year. Neither has the party been able to pay its portion of provident fund contributions since late 2018, Daily Maverick has reported. 

The treasurer-general position is often seen as the lifeline of the party, which Mabe himself is vying for alongside former ANC Youth League president Andile Lungisa and former Ekurhuleni chairperson Mzwandile Masina. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “The ANC’s money: Mabe, Masina and Lungisa may be in the running for one of the toughest jobs — treasurer-general 

The announcement to have the media pay to cover the conference has been met with mixed emotions from journalists, but Mabe clarified that no one would be excluded and that different media houses had different needs. 

“We will come and talk to your advertising divisions and those who deal with marketing, we will visit different media houses where there are challenges, and raise them with us so we can raise them with the organisation. We are trying to say, let us meet each other halfway to make it work for yourselves and for the ANC, so that those that come from community media organisations are not excluded. We want everyone to be accommodated to cover the conference.”   

‘All systems go’

Earlier, the party’s incumbent treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile, announced that it was all systems go for the conference where 6,000 people are expected to gather. Of these, 4,200 will be voting delegates.  

As at midday on Wednesday, Mashatile said the party had reached the threshold for the conference as 85% of the ANC branches were confirmed to be in good standing. “The requirement of the constitution is 70%, so we have far surpassed [that]… that in itself will give you more than 3,000 branches that have gone through and we’re quite pleased.” 

Preparations were already under way on Wednesday during the media site visit. Building up to the conference, Mashatile said, the programme would kick off on 15 December with a presidential gala dinner. TimesLIVE reported that those wishing to dine with President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC’s presidential gala dinner will have to fork out between R95,000 and R200,000. 

Other packages, according Ticketpro’s website, cost up to R1.2m. 

Read more:

Want to dine with Ramaphosa at the presidential gala dinner? It will cost you between R95k and R200k” 

Would you pay R1.2m to sit next to the President at a gala dinner?

Election of Top Six

The first day of the conference is on 16 December and will kick off with party president Ramaphosa giving a political report, followed by adoption of credentials and the secretary-general’s report which for the first time will be delivered by Deputy President David Mabuza since Mashatile, who has been acting in that position, will have to deliver the treasurer-general’s report. 

The election of the Top Six will be on the same day. “Hopefully it will happen before midnight,” said Mashatile. 

The ensuing days will entail discussions of reports and commissions.  

The ruling party’s conferences are often litigated by disgruntled members, and Mashatile said that while teams had strived to ensure that everything was done by the book, the party worked in anticipation that this conference too would be litigated. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Paul Mashatile accused of staging ‘coup’ in fresh court bid to interdict second leg of ANC North West Conference” 

This weekend, the party’s highest decision-making body in between conferences, the National Executive Committee, will for the first time in almost two years hold its physical meeting at Nasrec. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Do we really need to know about the ANC conference? they should be paying the media to be there!
    there is something rotten when a political party demands that media, whose responsibility is to keep their readers/users informed, demands payment which in turn undermines press freedom. but there will always be one ( no prizes for guessing who) that will pay to listen to the ANC babble. what the ANC should really focus on is collecting membership fees from their members and their members paying to keep the body alive like normal bodies do. perhaps it has something to do with a corrupt practice that the ANC is so well known for.

  • jacki watts says:

    Just don’t cover it.. Who cares anyway. We know the players, their histories and what they can’t offer… So why give it air time?

  • Richard Baker says:

    Dear DM-please don’t waste your money (some our’s!) on yet another empty talk-fest which will have no bearing or effect on our beleaguered nation. Self-important cadres with only one aim in mind-how to plunder the state still further. This year has comprised jockeying for position and no actual governance has taken place (would anyone notice?). Rather-please explore the possible alternatives to this bankrupt political malaise-such as Songezi Zibi and the Rivonia Forum.

    • Thinker and Doer says:

      Indeed, the media should not bother giving coverage to the conference if the ANC demands payment. We need coverage of the substantive issues that impact everyone, and to hold government and officials to account. Hearing about all of the machinations within the ANC is unnecessary and provides no real insight or benefit. It is tiresome!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Can’t run a party? And they look to run a country? Go figure.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    First they destroy the country and now they want to be paid for reports that explains the damage they have caused.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    Well, in that case, let’s be clear – I won’t pay – not even a red cent – to read anything about that goddamn conference that has laid this country lame for months now. They should be paying us! Oh! I guess they do, provided you vote for them…

  • Graeme J says:

    I hope that the DM won’t be paying to cover the ANC conference. After all, who gives a damn what they rubbish on about?

  • Paul T says:

    At least the ANC is realising what every proper business person knows, that in order to make an honest living you need to offer a product people find valuable enough to pay for, unlike corrupt officials, gatekeepers and BEE midflemen taking cuts while adding no value, and in most cases, actually destroying it.

  • Karsten Döpke says:

    I concur with all the above comments, please DM, don’t pay these clowns, we’re not interested in their circus.

  • Stephanie Brown says:

    Fascinating to read all the comments. No one cares about ANC yet we all read this article and even took time to comment. Let’s see the packages. What happens in the ANC matters very much for this country.

    • Rory Macnamara says:

      your comment is confusing. you do not explain why we should care about the ANC after almost 30 years of bring our country to its knees! are they about to experience an epiphany and correct all the wrongs they have done to the people of the country?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    These people really take the cake! Every opportunity is now seen as an opportunity to extort! There just is no shame!

  • Rob vZ says:

    Pay to watch entrenched thieves argue about who get to steal what is left of the copper piping?
    Prefer if the media spent its limited resources on people with ideas and people building on those ideas.

  • Malcolm Felgate says:

    I suggest you create a document which highlights the money stolen by the ANC Ministers and their staff. Then ask them for a small contribution (say 1%) to fund the conference. This would enable it to be held in an exotic location with “all expenses paid” just as they have become used to

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Hell NO. Rabble rousing bunch of the (by and large) least sophisticated or educated members of society. Not knocking them as people, I’m sure there are some good ones, but really, do we want to know about the fights, the corrupt, the ongoing lies? When the general population have a say in who is elected president, then we need to know. ANC needs to implode away from the public gaze. Would love to believe the media has the integrity to refuse. Sadly, unlikely.

  • Stef Viljoen Viljoen says:

    I agree with some of the comments made here. The progress and outcome of the conference is not really a concern. South Africa slowly but surely regressing and a new(or same) set of ANC leaders is not going to change that. Donate the money and report on something else instead.

  • Karen G says:

    This is hilarious, the media must pay to find out which the incompetent thieves jockeying for position is going to replace the incumbent incompetent thieves already running the country into the ground. None of this will make any difference in any of our lives – the only thing that will make a difference is to vote out the ANC in 2024.

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