In a candid interview with the Cape Times on Wednesday, ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile admitted their financial situation was “humiliating” in the past, but said the ANC was geared to take back control of the province in the 2014 provincial elections.
Despite Mjongile’s optimism, the ANC still owes R1.7 million to the CTICC for a provincial conference it held back in February 2011.
This while the ANC almost landed out on the street in November when the party failed to pay its rent for its provincial offices at Sahara House in Thibault Square.
“As you can remember our office furniture was attached, it was very humiliating,” said Mjongile. He said the party’s national office took over the payment of the rent and Luthuli House was also helping provincial treasurer Fezile Calana to settle their debts with the CTICC. Last year Calana told the Cape Times how the ANC was negotiating with the CTICC to pay the money in monthly instalments.
CTICC spokeswoman Zeenat Parker said there was no change in the situation.
“We have handed it over to our lawyers,” she said.
Mjongile said the ANC would secure more funding, regain support and proclaim a victory in 2014. “Business lost confidence in the ANC because of the way the ANC conducted itself in the past… but funders are returning,” said Mjongile.
Last year, Calana complained private funding had dried up in the province over the past few years and this compounded their funding woes. Mjongile said the ANC had huge bills when he and ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman took over in February 2011. “You take an organisation like this voetstoots… we were crawling, now we are taking toddler steps,” he said.
Mjongile said the ANC:
– Would reconnect with its support base, especially farmworkers and textile workers, women and young people.
– Councillors and the legislature would be more critical opposition to the DA.
– Would mend rifts between races and preach non-racialism.
– Would grow its party membership and strengthen its branches.
“In the past we built branches just around elections. That is why you can see an upsurge of members when we had the provincial conference,” he said.
ANC membership in the Western Cape fell from 43 000 in 2011 to 38 000 in December last year. The number of branches also declined, from 253 two years ago to 170 before the Mangaung conference at the end of last year.
“Our branches must deal (with) community issues like water, housing, electricity,” he said. Mjongile admitted the ANC had “missed opportunities” in the past to gather support, especially in cases of housing problems and the laying off of textile workers.
The party had created an “elections nerve centre” to plan for upcoming elections.
Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, however, warned in his political report last year that the province’s weakness was that it expected head office to pump resources into this election programme.
“Yes, that was the case, but we now run it with our current staff and they hold regular meetings,” Mjongile said.
Asked who would lead the party to the 2014 elections, Mjongile said Fransman.
“Our members have elected him, he is young and he will lead the party,” said Mjongile of the 43-year-old politician.