Home South African Unpaid ANC staff slam party for being ‘forced back into poverty’

Unpaid ANC staff slam party for being ‘forced back into poverty’

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Staff at Luthuli House blamed the ANC for forcing them back into poverty due to non-payment of salaries.

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STAFF at ANC headquarters in Luthuli House have been without salaries for two months and said they were being forced back into poverty by the former liberation movement.

A staffer, who did not want to be named, told Independent Media that the ANC had failed to lead at all levels, adding that the party had become the oppressor instead of being the liberator.

She said they were now living in poverty and there was a thin line between being employed and being unemployed, as they continued to suffer. This has caused her a great deal of stress, she said.

“It is very difficult to cope. I am now two months behind on my rent, my car has been repossessed and I have not been able to pay my daughter’s school fees. I borrow money from friends for food, but none of this is sustainable.

“I do not know what’s going to happen if I am evicted from my apartment because I don’t have an alternative place to stay. Most days we eat WeetBix three times a day, because there is no money to buy anything else,” said the source.

When Independent Media approached ANC general manager Febe Potgieter for comment, she refused to indicate whether the ANC would pay salaries, but said that the party’s staff would be the first to know if there were plans to remunerate them.

In a staff virtual meeting that Potgieter apparently called earlier this month, Luthuli House made it clear that the party did not have a plan and that the staff’s future hung in the balance.

In March, the party faced a similar situation, when it failed to pay the February staff salaries. The same also transpired in December 2019, and again in June 2020 – when the ANC alerted staff that it would not be able to fulfil its obligation to pay salaries on the 25th day of those months.

On June 23, the ANC wrote to its employees, committing to pay salaries on July 2, but failed to do so.

Last month, during staff picketing and the handing over of a memorandum of demands outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg, acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the ANC had a plan in place to manage the outstanding payments.

“The current cash flow problems faced by the movement are as a result of a variety of factors which, as you say, is not your concern – but we need to put it to you, including the general economic situation, the implementation of the Represented Political Party Funding Act, since April this year, as well as an urgent need to modernise the ANC’s operational and funding model,” said Duarte.

Opposition party, the EFF, previously volunteered to assist ANC staff and ensure that the “exploitation of workers stopped”. The red berets’ labour desk head Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said that all workers exploited by their employers, including the ANC, should be encouraged to approach the party’s desk to get assistance.

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