Phosa rues ‘thick layer of fat’ as ANC’s conference bill tops R100m
BLOEMFONTEIN businesses had colluded to inflate prices, pushing up the ruling party’s Mangaung conference bill to more than R100m, former African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Mathews Phosa said this week.
While Mr Phosa reported to the Mangaung conference this week that the party had raked in R1.5bn in revenue in the past five years, the elective gathering has been a drain on its wallet.
Businesspeople in Bloemfontein were reluctant to do business with the ANC around the Mangaung conference because some of them had still not been paid for services rendered when the party was in town for the centenary celebrations in January.
Some demanded full payment upfront for the elective conference, which wraps up today.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Mangaung conference, Mr Phosa said the ANC needed to "trim the fat" in its operations.
"We need to begin to cut our fat, it’s a thick layer of fat, it will cause political diabetes for the ANC," he said.
Ballooning staff figures — with 118 staff hired since 2007 — mean the party needs R24m every month for head office operations and salaries. "We are very wasteful, it’s sad," he said.
"At the moment, you have to raise R24m every month for salaries and overheads. It’s very difficult with a revenue line of almost zero."
He said staff needed to cut back on the frills.
The conferences held by the party were a drain on money. The giant marquee hosting 4,500 delegates, 850 journalists and other guests in Mangaung cost R30m to hire.
The R100m total cost was way more than what the party would have spent had the conference been in Midrand’s Gallagher Estate, Mr Phosa said.
The spending on the Mangaung conference was equal to what the party had spent on its year-long centenary celebrations.
"That’s fat. Everything here (at the Mangaung conference) is fat, everything is expensive … everything here is big. The hall is big, the stakes are big, it’s expensive.
"We need to have small things which are effective."
To avoid expensive conferences the ANC should consider asking its provinces to bid for the host status, which would keep prices competitive. This he had suggested to Mangaung delegates, Mr Phosa said.
"Bloemfontein would never qualify for any event. They have shot up prices, they have colluded, it’s crazy. A four-roomed house here costs R100,000, the cost of two RDP houses. You spend that in four days."
More in this section
- ANC ‘sidelines’ Cosatu in bid to rescue ailing unions
- DA’s Mazibuko to meet British deputy prime minister
- Name dropping is here to stay for now, says Mantashe
- POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Gupta scandal to be aired in Parliament
- Saxonwold ANC ‘to act against Atul Gupta’
- SACP chiefs must own up to not being Marxists
- Guptagate report shows manipulation, collusion and illegal blue lights
- SABC presenter Mbuli hailed as patriot and ‘zealous newshound’
- Karabus lawyer says South African nurse behind bars in UAE
- Eskom was ‘on the brink of a power shutdown’
- Iran ‘behind US cyber blitz’
- THICK END OF THE WEDGE: We can already write the NDP off