Sanef to quiz ANC over December conference media coverage costs

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ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe
PHOTO: Daily Sun
  • The ANC plans to charge media houses for infrastructure space at its December national conference. 
  • The party's spokesperson Pule Mabe said the media had too many demands and the charge was to streamline the resources available. 
  • The SA National Editors' Forum said it would ask the ANC why it was necessary to put a cost to the newsworthy gathering.

The South African National Editors' Forum plans to meet with the ANC as media outrage erupted after the party revealed it planned to charge media houses for coverage space at its December national conference. 

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the ANC was formulating price packages to charge media houses for infrastructure space at the December leadership conference. 

These packages, which would vary depending on the requirements, would be finalised by the end of the week. 

This is the first time that the party has charged media houses for conference coverage. 

The cash-strapped ANC has been struggling to pay its staff salaries and contributions to the provident pension fund.

But Mabe said the funds raised from the media were not intended as a profit-making exercise.

He said the costs associated with providing the infrastructure required by media houses were significant for the organisation. 

He said over 300 journalists had registered at the policy conference to cover the event. 

"We want to ensure that the five days we are here together work for you, and you can cover everything. Everyone wants to be accommodated. We are creating this so that everyone can be accommodated. 

"We will do our best to ensure that we accommodate your requirements, as we have always done in the past. If the exercise succeeds, it allows me to create a bigger space for the media, and if we do not meet each other halfway, it will be difficult," Mabe said. 

READ | Financial watchdog says ANC must pay R10m a month to clear staff retirement fund arrears

On whether charging media houses for conference coverage would be a regular occurrence, Mabe said the soon-to-be-elected ANC treasurer-general would decide that. 

Sanef said it would meet with the ANC to understand why the party saw it necessary to put a cost to the newsworthy gathering.  

Meanwhile, the EFF wrote a lengthy statement cautioning the SABC from using "taxpayers' money" to purchase media coverage space at the ANC conference.

The ANC conference will be held at Nasrec Expo in Johannesburg from 16 to 20 December. 

More than 6 000 people will attend the conference with over 4 000 voting delegates. 

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