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‘Don’t write us off because we don’t have money’: ANC ahead of municipal elections

ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte says the ruling party will actively contest the municipal elections. File photo.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte says the ruling party will actively contest the municipal elections. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Deaan Vivier

“Don’t write us off just because we don’t have money” is the message the ANC has sent as it prepares to contest all wards and municipalities in the upcoming local government elections after being thrown a lifeline by the Electoral Commission (IEC).

The broke ANC has been emboldened as it will have another opportunity to register candidates after a blunder saw the party fail to meet the deadline to put up candidates in at least 94 municipalities.

It has been battling to pay employee salaries, provident and pension funds as well UIF. This raised questions about whether the party will be able to campaign, given its financial position has forced it to beg South Africans for donations.

Briefing the media on Tuesday after the ANC national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla, the party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the ANC will be able to contest wards and municipalities in all corners of the country.

Without the assistance of its employees who are on a strike over nonpayment of salaries, the ANC will have to rely on other means to campaign in the October/November elections, including the use of volunteers in wards and using mobile phones to campaign.

“With all the ANC volunteers on the ground, we’re already starting to work. People have gone out already. Our candidates will lead the election [campaign] in the ward where they are a candidate. They will work with volunteers. We still going to go door-to-door. That is the style of campaigning we do,” Duarte said.

“Of course we’re not going to be able to have rallies because of Covid-19 regulations, but we are going to go door-to-door and that will be the style of our campaign throughout the country. We will be going to all 4,861 wards, even wards that are strongholds of other political parties.

“We are not going to be afraid to put our foot into every space where it is possible.”

Duarte said the party would hold its strategic and planning meeting on Sunday and Monday to finalise campaign messaging to be sent out via volunteers and mobile phones.

“We’ve learnt the value of this machine: very valuable,” Duarte said holding up a phone.

“Many of our voters and a lot of the electorate have this machine, so let’s wait and see. Don’t write us off just because we don’t have money.”

The ANC has been handed a lifeline by the IEC, which on Monday announced that by virtue of the Constitutional Court order that there should be another voter registration weekend, they could reopen the candidate registration process.

The IEC said those who register during the voter registration weekend could want to contest municipalities and not reopening candidate registration would be unfair.

Regarding a campaign trail possibly without ANC staff, Duarte admitted it was a difficult pill to swallow but said the party could not tell staff not to protest as downing tools was their right.

She refused to comment on the DA opening a case against ANC leaders for allegedly failing to honour Unemployment Insurance Fund payments, over and above the failure to pay pension and provident funds.

“Our relationship with our staff is an internal matter between us and our staff. Anyone who wants to take issue with that would have to make sure they have the mandate of our staff to act on their behalf.”