Lindiwe Mazibuko MP


ANC Centenary Celebration: Public funds should not be used to fund party-political events

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In a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question, the Minister for Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, has admitted that, had her department been approached to provide funding for the ANC’s centenary celebrations, she would have gladly agreed to do so.

Minister Sisulu’s reply reads as follows:

If the member is referring to the African National Congress (ANC), we would have been honoured to have been considered. The United Nations (UN) has recognized and honoured this outstanding organization. The Member is encouraged to read what, amongst others, the Secretary General of the UN, Mr B Moon said about this organization. Perhaps the Honourable can encourage his party to do the same. Sadly, we have not been approached“.

The Minister’s response demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of and disregard for the division between party and state. Public funds cannot and should not be used to fund party-political events. By saying that she would have agreed to use public funds to finance the ANC’s centenary celebrations, the Minister is admitting that she would have gladly disregarded this critical division.

In addition, by agreeing to fund a political organization, Minister Sisulu would have been putting the independence of the military, as stipulated the Constitution, in jeopardy. Section 199 specifies that “neither the security services, nor any of its members, may, in the performance of their functions, further, in a partisan manner, any interest of a political party”. By diverting public funds intended to fund the military, the Minister would have been demonstrating allegiance to the ANC as a political party and not to the country as a whole.

While the DA recognises the role played by the ANC, amongst other movements, in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa from Apartheid, the ANC is however no longer a liberation movement, but a political party which contests elections in a democratic space like all other political parties. There can therefore be no justification for the diversion of public funds for a party-political celebration.

Earlier this year, the DA welcomed the commitment made by ANC Chairperson, Baleka Mbete that the ANC had “no intention” of using state funds to finance the party’s centenary celebrations. We are disappointed to note that so soon after this public commitment, a member of the cabinet has shown such enthusiasm for flouting this assurance.

I have submitted parliamentary questions to all government departments to determine whether public money will be utilized to fund the ANC’s centenary celebrations next year.


Written by Lindiwe Mazibuko

October 11, 2011 at 07:37

Posted in Uncategorized

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