The ANC says spending on its upcoming January 8 birthday celebrations won’t “go overboard”, as staffers are still owed salaries and benefits.
The cash-strapped governing party will hold its 110th bash in Polokwane, Limpopo over the weekend.
Addressing reporters on the state of readiness on Thursday, ANC NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane said her party was encouraged by how its unpaid staffers are volunteering at the event.
“Those of us who are elected are indebted to them. They are showing that over and above being employees, they have a political and organisational responsibility to make this event a success and we thank them.
“They see a responsibility to help build ANC and revive movements.
“We are conscious that we can’t go overboard while staffers are not paid. It is also encouraging that the team working here is not outsourced, it is still them, volunteering.
“The ANC is going through serious challenges with non-availability of resources, but we are doing everything with the little that we have… izinto ziyahlangana [things are coming together].
“We are also quite mindful that we can’t go overboard when our own staff members have not been paid salaries and benefits,” she told reporters gathered at the party’s provincial office in Polokwane.
Staffers have for months held pickets across provinces demanding that owed salaries be paid.
Although the party promised to make payments before Christmas, no funds had been forthcoming, leaving employees facing bleak holidays.
Employees who made their way to Polokwane, Limpopo, this week said their presence doesn’t undermine their continuing demands.
Staff representative Mandla Qwane said they arrived in Polokwane on Monday and are helping to make the annual bash a success, as it is an important event in the ANC calendar.
“We are not doing this to impress anyone. We are here for the movement as cadres and staff members. Whatever we do is never to impress anyone.
“Having said that, it doesn’t take away the fact that we are still unpaid. We arrived here three days ago. We haven’t been provided with food or fuel… but we are pushing to make January 8 a success.”
The last time staffers received salaries was in September last year, he added.
“We had a black Christmas. We are having a hard time, schools are re-opening soon and we do not know how we are going to provide for our kids. But the last thing we would we would expect is a failed January 8 event.
“It is important to support our movement.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the party’s January 8 statement on Saturday at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. Public engagements by party leaders and a gala dinner are held ahead of the Saturday main event.
This year, only 2,000 people will be part of the celebrations at the stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Mokonyane encouraged the public to use the party’s various social media platforms to view the celebrations at home, or gather at public viewing sites across the provinces.