ANC staff down tools over dispute over outstanding wages with party

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ANC staff picketing outside Luthuli House in September over the non-payment of their salaries.  (Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
ANC staff picketing outside Luthuli House in September over the non-payment of their salaries. (Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • ANC staffers have decided to stop reporting for duty because of outstanding salaries.
  • The ANC owes its staff outstanding salaries for November and December.
  • ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa had committed the party to resolving the salary dispute.

ANC staffers will no longer report for duty as of Monday because they are yet to be paid their outstanding salaries.

The ruling party has been battling to pay party workers their salaries for several months. 

The staffers affected include people stationed at the party's headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, and other provincial offices across the country. 

As of 17 January, staffers had yet to be paid salaries for November and December. 

In December, a slight reprieve was felt when the party managed to pay October salaries. 

Another worry for staffers is the unpaid pension fund contributions which are overdue since November 2018, according to staff representative Mandla Qwane. 

READ | ANC finally pays staff October salaries, but November and December pay still outstanding

Qwane told News24 on Monday that the decision to stay away from work was because they had no money to report for duty. 

"We cannot go to work because we do not have the means to go to work. Beyond the fact that we do not have the means to work, the ANC leadership has not met any of the agreements we agreed to before the year's closure. They told us that they would settle all outstanding salaries by the end of November, and that did not materialise," he said. 

"There was an indication that outstanding salaries would be paid by December 15. Until this very point, there have not been any outstanding salaries that have been paid, [or] any communication regarding those payments," Qwane said. 

January 8 promise on salaries 

During his January 8 Statement, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa committed himself saying the party would deal with the salary situation. 

He said the party remained concerned about the issue while struggling to find avenues to raise funding. 

"We do need to accumulate more money, and we are scouring all over trying to raise more funds. We have not had a discussion with the staff since November. We are going to continue with that, and we should meet them even sooner so we can lay out a clear message of what is going to happen going forward. It is a major challenge in light of the shortage of sources to raise money," Ramaphosa said at a media briefing following his address on 8 January. 

But this commitment from the party leader rung hollow for Qwane and his colleagues who believe it is yet another promise that will never be kept. 

"It was not the first time that we have heard that. We have heard that before, and nothing has materialised that is substantive and says this is what they are doing to resolve the problem," Qwane said in response to Ramaphosa's comments. 

A meeting with the party's treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile, is scheduled for Tuesday. 

Qwane said all staffers had agreed that they could not be exploited and were unwilling to work even for stipends. 

Qwane said:

We cannot accept the leadership of the ANC giving us money just to go to work. We go to work, but our stomachs are empty. Comrades are given stipends to work so that conferences can go on. We feel this is exploitation of the highest order. You give me money to go to work, but you cannot give me money to sustain myself. We have encouraged our members not to accept such from the leadership and paid in the corners to do the work.

A resolution to the party's financial debacle is needed as it faces a year with multiple conferences expected to take place across the country.

The national elective conference is expected to take place in December. 

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