On Thursday last week, as the ANC was campaigning in Phillipi in Cape Town, the party’s head of elections may inadvertently have lifted the lid on just how much elections have cost the ANC.
EWN reporter Rahima Essop asked Nomvula Mokonyane how much had already been spent by the ruling party on trying to convince people to place their cross next to the ANC on August 3.
“The national tally so far … it’s a billion,” she said.
The reporter was amazed. “A billion?” She even repeated the question.
“A billion,” confirmed Mokonyane, in uncertain terms. “You see, we do posters for candidates, we do billboards….”
The exchange was recorded and broadcast on Radio 702.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, however, then said that only treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize was allowed to speak about such issues. He said action could be taken against Mokonyane on the matter.
“The secretary-general [Gwede Mantashe] indicated that anybody who comments about this issue to the media would need to be disciplined in line with the of the organisation’s internal processes,” said Kodwa.
On the same radio station, however, Stephen Grootes asked the party’s treasurer-general, Zweli Mkhize, on Tuesday, if the R1 billion figure was correct.
Mkhize tried to brush it off, saying it was incorrect. He declined to provide the correct figure, merely explaining that Mokonyane had been making some sort of joke and that it was a figure of speech.
Grootes later wrote on the Daily Maverick that he doubted Mkhize was being honest, although “It would be easy for the other parties to make a song and dance about this. But almost all of them are as bad as the ANC. Both the DA and the EFF won’t disclose how much these polls have cost them. And the DA has joined the ANC in court to fight the various attempts made at forcing transparency.”
In another interview with Gareth Cliff on Friday, while commenting on whether party funding and elections spend should be transparent (as happens in the US) EFF leader Julius Malema declared that leaders were “scared” to openly declare their support for the EFF.
“Big business is the most scared of all … they are benefiting from all the corruption in South Africa.”
He said the party relied on the IEC, party merchandise and individual contributions for funding. He said he did not believe that anyone who funded a party should feel that they were owed something for life.
He called for party funding to be made transparent. “You must never relate with cowards.”
Essop had earlier reported that the DA and EFF had also commented about electioneering expenses, saying they had spent a lot of money campaigning for the local government elections in August.
“The EFF said the cost of electioneering has run into the millions now.”
Cliff pointed out to Malema during their interview that the DA had once told him that they needed funding to remain a secret so that their funders would “not be victimised by government” by way of the ruling party.