Taxpayers to pay R400m for ANC party
Kaydene Jordaan, Volksblad
Bloemfontein - Taxpayers will have to pay more than R400m for the ANC's centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein.
This is on top of the R100m which the ANC had already budgeted for next year's big party.
This amount is however petty cash compared to the money that will be spent to ready infrastructure in the Free State to host the party.
- Taxpayers have already paid R150m for the Philip Sanders resort just outside the city. The resort will be the headquarters of the festivities;
- A further R35m has been budgeted to restore the Methodist church in Waaihoek, where the ANC was founded in 1912;
- R200m has been allocated to renovate the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Mangaung;
- The official house of Free State Premier Ace Magashule will get an upgrade costing R15m;
- Millions will also be spent to restore the historic Mapikela home, and the Winnie Mandela home in Brandfort.
Cope's Casca Mokitlane said that as it is an ANC celebration, the organisation must use its own money to finance the party.
The ANC however feels that the centenary celebrations form part of every South African's heritage, which is why it sees no problem in spending large sums of money.
Roy Jankielsohn, leader of the DA in the Free State, said it would be highly irregular for a political party to tap into national, provincial and municipal budgets to pay for its celebrations.
"We are worried about how much money is being used for the restoration of the buildings and church, even if they could be declared national heritage sites."
Professor Andre Duvenhage, political commentator of the North West university, said such spending of taxpayers' money threatens democracy.
William Bulwane, spokesperson for Premier Magashule, did not respond.