Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Can’t-pay-salaries ANC to spend R50 million on elections campaign – Mbalula

The ANC's head of elections says the party's budget is a 'moving target'.

The ANC’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula says the governing party is aiming to spend approximately R50 million to campaign for this year’s municipal elections.

Mbalula on Wednesday said the ANC’s election budget was a moving target, but they were planning to spend not more than R50 million to contest the local government elections, scheduled for 1 November.

LIVE interactive map, latest news, multimedia and more!

View Map

ALSO READ: ANC boasts diverse list of youth, women as councillor candidates for elections

He said the party was relying on fundraising and donor funding to campaign for the polls.

“In terms of our budget, it’s a moving target [and] we are not looking at spending more than R50 million in this campaign. It’s a very short [period of campaigning] and we can live without other things,” Mbalula said in an interview with 702.

“But in any budget, there are hidden costs that you may want to stretch yourself to a particular amount of money in terms of increases. We are working within the limited resources that we’ve got.”

The ANC has suffered several blows in the lead-up to the elections. This began with protests by its staff who were not paid their salaries for several months, as well as the party missing the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) original deadline in August to submit councillor candidates. 

‘ANC is running a huge bill’

But Mbalula said the party was working on its cash flow challenges, adding that democracy is an expensive exercise.

“Democracy and running a party political structure is tough and the ANC is running a huge bill, which it needs to reconsider in light of the new financial laws that govern political parties’ funding,” he said.

“We rely on fundraising and donor funding, that is it. So, we don’t have our own assets that we rely on to give us more resources every month.”

Speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said she was not privy to the details around the party’s election budget.

Duarte said funding and expenditure was the responsibility of the elections team. She, however, said Mbalula’s estimated budget was “probably the correct figure”.

“What we know we need is posters and to do some digital media [campaigning],” she said.

ANC mayoral candidates for metros

While other parties have presented their mayoral candidates to contest the country’s eight metropolitan municipalities, the ANC said it had not yet decided on their candidates.

Duarte said the party would carefully select its mayoral candidates and their provincial executive committees (PECs) would nominate three names to stand as candidates.

The nominated candidates would then be interviewed by the ANC’s national leaders for selection.

Duarte said the party preferred candidates who were long-standing members of the ANC, with experience in government and a solid understanding of financial management.

“For metros, the provincial executive committee, not the REC [regional executive committee], will discuss the choice of three possible candidates that would fit all the criteria that we have set up…

“But we also would like someone who understands the city that they’re going to represent very well,” she said.

READ NEXT: DA accepts ConCourt loss, maintains IEC favoured ANC over registrations reopening