Paul Mashatile, ANC treasurer-general 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 R215million.
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, on Thursday.
Mashatile said he was not only impressed by the commission’s readiness for the final registration drive on January 26 and 27 at its 22927 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 Saturday’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.