‘We are not broke…’

Mashatile as­sures ANC mem­bers that party will have enough money to fund cam­paign­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NATION - LOY­ISO SIDIMBA loy­iso [email protected]

ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Paul Mashatile has as­sured mem­bers that the gov­ern­ing party will have enough money to fund cam­paign­ing for what looks set to be or­gan­i­sa­tion’s tough­est gen­eral elec­tions yet.

Just over a year ago the ANC ad­mit­ted that it was strug­gling fi­nan­cially, with Mashatile’s pre­de­ces­sor Dr Zweli Mkhize re­veal­ing that the party was tech­ni­cally in­sol­vent in his fi­nan­cial re­port pre­sented at its na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber 2017.

Mkhize’s re­port showed that the ANC was in the red with debts to­talling R215 mil­lion.

But Mashatile in­sisted there was no need to worry.

“We are busy rais­ing funds, so we should be fine,” he said on the side­lines of the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s launch of the 2019 na­tional and pro­vin­cial elec­tions at the Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Midrand, Jo­han­nes­burg, yes­ter­day.

Mashatile said he was not only im­pressed by the com­mis­sion’s readi­ness for the fi­nal reg­is­tra­tion drive on Jan­uary 26 and 27 at its 22 927 voting sta­tions across the coun­try but its pre­pared­ness for the elec­tions.

”We as the ANC are also ready. We are busy con­nect­ing with our peo­ple on the ground,” he said.

Mashatile said that in to­mor­row’s Jan­uary 8 state­ment Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa would fo­cus on the party’s plans to grow the econ­omy, im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion, skills devel­op­ment and ac­cess to health, among other is­sues.

The com­mis­sion also an­nounced an am­bi­tious cam­paign to woo the coun­try’s young and first-time voters un­der 30, who de­spite rep­re­sent­ing more than half of the pop­u­la­tion have the low­est lev­els of voter reg­is­tra­tion.

Fig­ures pro­vided by the com­mis­sion show that only 16% of teenagers eligible to vote are reg­is­tered while lev­els of reg­is­tra­tion among young South Africans aged be­tween 20 and 29 stands at 54%.

Chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Sy Mam­abolo said the com­mis­sion was pur­su­ing record voter reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures and would tar­get univer­sity and col­lege cam­puses, voting dis­tricts with low voter reg­is­tra­tion and also em­bark on a prison voter reg­is­tra­tion drive.

South Africans liv­ing abroad will have the op­por­tu­nity to reg­is­ter for the polls in the first four days of next month in the coun­try’s 121 for­eign mis­sions.

Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Glen Mashinini warned po­lit­i­cal par­ties con­test­ing the elec­tions to en­sure there was no in­tim­i­da­tion in the run-up to the elec­tions and that this pe­riod is free from vi­o­lence.

Ac­cord­ing to Mashinini, po­lit­i­cal par­ties must also en­sure that their ef­forts to win votes do not trans­gress the Con­sti­tu­tion and the elec­toral code.

He pleaded with po­lit­i­cal par­ties to con­stantly fos­ter and main­tain an en­vi­ron­ment that en­sures free and fair elec­tions.

Mashinini said the com­mis­sion had so far cap­tured the ad­dresses of 83% of reg­is­tered voters or 20 mil­lion South Africans eligible to vote, which Mashatile de­scribed as a big achieve­ment.

Last year the Con­sti­tu­tional Court gave the com­mis­sion un­til Novem­ber to up­date the voters roll with all ad­dresses.

“One per­son with­out an ad­dress is one per­son too many,” Mashinini said.

He said the elec­tions’ le­git­i­macy would be en­hanced if the great­est num­ber of South Africans par­tic­i­pated.

The term of the na­tional and pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tures ends on May 6 and elec­tions must be held within 90 days af­ter that, which means the polls are likely to be held be­tween May 7 and Au­gust 5.

Ramaphosa must then pub­lish a procla­ma­tion in the Govern­ment Gazette set­ting out the date of the elec­tions.

PAUL MASHATILE

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