ANC ‘debating’ role of Chancellor House

2012-06-09 19:16

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa has hinted at differences within the ANC about the governing party’s investment arm, Chancellor House.

At a briefing in Pretoria yesterday following a workshop on the party’s funding policy, Phosa said the ANC wanted to “go and set a policy and see how to raise the issue”.

The two-day workshop was attended by ANC provincial and regional treasurers, as well as national executive committee members Tokyo Sexwale, Naledi Pandor, and women’s league treasurer Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Phosa admitted that the Chancellor House issue came up for discussion at the meeting, but failed to give details about the discussions.

According to notes from his speech, Phosa told officials at the workshop that the ANC needed “to factor in modern day conflict of interest principles as this can cause public embarrassment, especially during election periods”.

There has been controversy around Chancellor House benefiting from state contracts, such as the R40 billion Hitachi Power deal to build boilers for the Medupi and Kusile power stations.

Critics have accused the ANC of a conflict of interest in this regard.

The party also came under fire in 2005 for allegedly receiving R15 million from PetroSA, channelled through Imvume Management, a company with close ties to the ANC.

But Phosa said the ANC should “never receive money from the state or from parastatals”, and that it “should not do business with government”.

He said, however, the party could not stop ANC members who were businesspeople and doing business with government from offering donations to the party.

He said “party-linked vehicles” could “typically involve the diversion of significant shares of profits into the pockets of private individuals and into the war chests of emergent factions”.

Such companies should be discouraged, he said, adding the party should look at the abuse of state money by ministers, MECs, premiers and other public representatives to fight factional battles within the party. This should not be allowed, he said.

Private and overseas donations should be capped, he said. “Individuals in a company should not have so much undue influence in a political party or system that they can control it. We are saying donations should have a cap and we think it should be regulated.”

Phosa also added that the ANC didn’t want to take money from criminals or “tainted” sources, and if it did so unknowingly, the party would return it.

Phosa also said the ANC wanted the taxpayer to foot the bill for party campaigns during elections, for which parties currently receive a “pittance” from the Independent Electoral Commission and Parliament.

The ANC had studied party funding models of nations like Germany, the UK and US, and now wanted to “indiginise” the findings of this study.

Phosa said the party wanted a parliamentary committee to be set up to look at party funding, and it wanted to make changes to party funding regulations with the cooperation of other political parties.

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