South Africa’s ruling party is strapped for cash heading into municipal elections in October as new funding disclosure rules serve as a deterrent to donors.
The African National Congress has been struggling to meet its salary bill on time, with employees being notified last month that uncertainty over when they’d be paid could persist for as long as six months. The party, which also owes money to the South African Revenue Service, is now considering drastically cutting back on staff.
“We are struggling. We have a cash flow problem,” Jessie Duarte, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, said at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday. “The funders that we have traditionally relied on have stepped back.”
The financial squeeze may undermine the ANC’s efforts to reclaim control of several key towns that it lost to opposition coalitions five years ago. While the party backed a newly adopted law requiring all donations to political parties exceeding R100,000 ($7,000) to be publicly disclosed, it was now working to its disadvantage, according to Duarte.
“Many people who have funded the ANC may also have been funding other political parties,” she said. “So they don’t want it to be known that they funded the ANC, or they fund the ANC and believe that it might be bad for business or – let’s put it bluntly – that it was good for business at a time and is no longer.”