'We’ve hit really difficult times': Ramaphosa says ANC salaries debacle is a sore point

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his stance on hot topics such as the state of the ANC, the possibility of vaccine mandates and the end of lockdown whilst giving a rare press conference at Luthuli House on September 29 2021.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has described the failure to pay party staff as a “sore point” that keeps him awake at night.

The ANC has been battling to pay employees' salaries on time, sometimes leaving staff unpaid for two consecutive months.

The party has blamed the new party funding legislation that regulates how much political parties can receive from their funders and also demands that these funders be publicly declared.

This means businesspeople and businesses that have been bankrolling the ANC for years behind the scenes would have nowhere to hide.

“This is a sore point for all of us, for me as well, that funding of the ANC has run into headwinds, has run into challenges and problems due to the laws that we have passed,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday evening.

“You know, some of the people who used to fund the ANC now say ‘we were funding you, but you know we don’t necessarily like the idea of publicising that we are funding you’. Some don’t mind. But that has meant that we’ve been cut back in as far as our funding sources are concerned.”

The state of the economy has also affected how much the party receives from its funders who, according to Ramaphosa, “are no longer making so much money or profit, and the first thing that goes in these difficult economic times is what they would regard as expenses that are not really key to the running of their businesses”.

He was speaking in his capacity as ANC president in a media engagement session after the launch of the party’s election manifesto on Monday.

Issues such as nonpayment of salaries and allegations that the party has been failing to pay over employee benefits despite making deductions, will become a sticking point as the party convinces South Africans to vote for it in the November 1 local government elections.

Delivering the party's manifesto on Monday, Ramaphosa promised to create even more jobs in the country “at a much faster rate,” but his party is failing to pay just under 400 of its staff cohort.

“We’ve hit really difficult times but we are working very fervently to address the funding gap,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said he was thankful to staff who despite going without salaries for months continue working for the party, especially ahead of the elections.

“Yes, it puts us on the back foot if our staff have not been paid and it is actually a huge problem for us. We try, we piece together rand after rand to make sure that we pay, and we pay late, but we are working on programmes and efforts to pay the staff of the ANC,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are grateful that we’ve got a number of staff members who, despite the challenges and difficulties are saying 'we will do the work voluntarily, but we don’t want you to forget that our families are suffering.' This is what keeps the TG [treasurer-general], myself and other officials awake at night as we try to piece the money together.”

Ramaphosa, along with other ANC national officials, are facing possible criminal charges after some employees opened a case against them over the nonpayment of UIF, provident fund and salaries.

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