North West ANC activist Oupa Matla, who headed the communications wing of the provincial headquarters ahead of the May 8 general elections, is fighting to get months of back pay that is due to him after his salaray was stopped without notice.
The former ally turned nemesis of former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, wants Luthuli House to settle all the money owed to him or he will go to court.
This came after the former ANC task team that took the province to the general elections and their successor, the interim provincial committee, allegedly failed to resolve his dispute.
In his series of letters to the Luthuli House offices of President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule over the past seven months, Matla, who unexpectedly fell out of favour with Mahumapelo following a labour dispute in 2016, when he worked for the party in the provincial legislature, lays bare some of the frustrations that may come with being a volunteer for the governing party during election season.
In March 2018, according to a letter signed by North West election team coordinator Nikiwe Num, Matla “joined the election at a provincial level at the beginning of [that month], throughout the voter registration weekend and [was] expected to continue until after the ([May 2019] elections”.
For his work, including serving as a media liaison officer, Num requested the provincial headquarters in Mphekwa House, Mafikeng, to approve a minimum salary of R35 000 a month for Matla and another person, Perleti Tsoena, as employees of the ANC. Matla later informs ANC general manager in Luthuli House, Febe Potgieter, that the salary was set at R15 000 a month.
“My payments were stopped without any explanation,” Matla said in one email to Luthuli House.
Only R40 000 had been paid to him by February this year – despite that by that time he had went for eight months without a salary.
“I have used my personal money to serve the ANC and even bought them Thuma Mina regalia. I find it disturbing that the ANC fails to give me what is due to me while people continue to loot in the party and I can give evidence to that effect,” he said.
He told Potgieter that the provincial executive committee officials had deliberately failed to pay his subsistence and travel allowance.
“I have been denied access to airtime for three months, of which I had to use my money to execute ANC work. I have never received my two monthly salaries for July and August, and there was no communication as why my salary was withdrawn.”
By April this year, a month before his working agreement with the ANC was to end, he escalated his complaint to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, but he was sent to the office of Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile, then to Magashule’s office – which Matla later described in one of the letters as “being sent from pillar to post”.
In May, according to a screenshot of an SMS message naming former North West task team coordinator Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as the sender, an amount of R30 000 had been paid to Matla.
“This closes your matter on settlement with the provincial office,” the message read.
“I have been sent from pillar to post by the office of the president and the secretary general and as a result, failure to respond within the next 48 hours will leave me with no choice but to consult my lawyers,” he wrote in mid-August, adding that “I have tried my level best to be patient”.
Two weeks ago, all Matla could get from Potgieter was that his case was “among those listed to be concluded” by the provincial office in North West, adding that “we will do a follow up on the matter and revert back to you about the outcome”.