Ahead of the launch of the ANC’s electoral manifesto in Church Square in Tshwane on Monday evening, the party’s electoral chief, Fikile Mbalula, was asked about all the controversy surrounding a video clip that circulated on the social media showing ANC (TG) general treasurer Paul Mashatile distributing money in a church.
Mbalula said the party had already dealt with clarifying the issue and that it was wrong to assume that Mashatile was “buying votes” by giving money to voters.
“This is a distortion and an exaggeration of lies. We know that when we go to church we are making offerings. This is what happens in all the churches. So it wasn’t about buying votes or anything like that. It was the TG personally who made a donation.
He criticized people who used the incident as a way to criticize the ANC, dismissing them as not being able to raise relevant issues, which Mashatile’s video was not.
Mashatile himself had previously denied social media interpretations of his cash distributions resembling “vote buying,” which the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) does not allow.
He said he just attended a church service in Makhado, Limpopo, and during the tithe offering he did not hand over money to potential voters, but rather to members of his team, for them to do. they’re supposed to put in the donation box.
The ANC has not been able to pay the staff for more than three consecutive months.
Mbalula said facing funding issues shouldn’t be seen as unique to the ANC after the new political party funding law was passed, requiring parties to disclose details of donations. 100,000 rand or more.
“It is a challenge that any political party will have to face. It is not mismanagement of finances. Democracy is expensive. The funding model for political parties will have to be reviewed, ”said Mbalula.
Opposition political parties had previously called on the CEI to act on Mashatile’s video.
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National People’s Congress (Cope) spokesperson Dennis Bloem said earlier: “The CIS must urgently address the issue, because if they don’t act tomorrow another party will do the same. with impunity.
“This is not the first for the ANC. In past elections we have seen the now suspended ANC General Secretary Ace Magashule giving money to a potential voter after being shown an empty fridge during a door-to-door campaign. door.
The attorney for Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman said: “If people are paid or bribed to support a particular party, it violates Law 12 of 2004 on preventing and combating corruption activities.
“The CEI has a duty to bring to the attention of the prosecuting authorities any information it receives about this kind of activity in violation of the electoral system – the party prevents people from voting with their stomachs rather than their brains.
Independent political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said the ANC should explain its actions to “degrade voters and take advantage of the socio-economic conditions of communities”.
Institute for Global Dialogue political analyst Sanusha Naidu said, “Although you cannot pay your staff salaries, you do pay the church members in Limpopo money – it doesn’t. can not continue as usual.
“The ANC – because of the new laws – must change its electoral strategy, reinvent itself and come up with a new modus operandi for the way it campaigns.
“It’s just not turned on, because it undermines and contradicts what the president has said on his walks.
“The ANC is grappling with problems and is striving to remain relevant and to be a serious candidate in these elections.”
– Background report by Brian Sokutu