South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is mired in a financial crisis that’s partly of its own making.
The party has run out of cash and its failure to pay its staff for months prompted some of them to go on strike on Thursday. Efforts to replenish its depleted coffers have fallen flat, with corporate donors reluctant to contribute following the adoption of a new funding disclosure law that was spearheaded by president Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration and aims at clamping down on corruption.
The Political Party Funding Act, which came into effect in April, requires all donations to political parties exceeding R100,000 ($6,701) to be publicly disclosed, and forbids parties from accepting more than R15 million a year from a single donor.
They also aren’t allowed to receive money from government entities, and can only accept funding from foreign governments or agencies if it is used for training and policy development.
The financial squeeze comes just months before the country is due to hold municipal elections and will hamper the ANC’s campaign. Its only consolation is that other parties are similarly cash-strapped — the main opposition Democratic Alliance has retrenched staff over recent months and is considering selling its Johannesburg headquarters.
“The ANC management will continue to engage with staff representatives on their grievances with a view to find a solution so that we can resume normal operations,” the party said in a statement.