Cape Town - The ANC in the Western Cape should be barred from hosting events at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) until the party settles its R1.3 million account dating back to 2011 when it used the venue for its regional conference, the City of Cape Town has recommended.
In the notes of a report considered by the city’s municipal public accounts committee, executive director of auxiliary affairs Gerard Ras said: “Until such time as the debt is settled, the ANC (should) not be afforded (the) opportunity to host any further events in the CTICC.”
But Ras’s recommendation sparked a heated debate as the committee’s chairman, William Mxolose, argued that neither Ras nor the committee had the authority to bar anyone from hosting events at the CTICC. Ras was not present in the meeting.
“We note the report but note that Ras’s comments are inappropriate for us as a committee.”
He said the CTICC was a legal entity and managed by its own board.
The report noted the CTICC’s debt recovery efforts dating back to 2011 when the ANC’s provincial treasurer Fezile Calana first signed the contract to hire the venue.
Calana confirmed that a cheque of R1m had been paid to the CTICC - just less than half of the total cost of the venue hire - but it bounced because of insufficient funds.
The account used belonged to Calana’s company. Smaller amounts of money were then deposited into the CTICC’s account, with some of the cheques being dishonoured again due to insufficient funds.
In March 2011, the matter was handed to the CTICC’s attorneys for collection. A writ of execution was obtained pursuant to a default judgment. The ANC Western Cape paid R100 000 and asked for additional time to settle the outstanding amount. But no additional payments were received.
In 2012, the ANC’s Western Cape leadership reportedly promised to pay the CTICC monthly instalments of R350 000. Only one payment of R150 000 was made.
In July 2013, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe received a registered letter regarding the outstanding debt.
The city’s Louise Muller, of finance, noted in her report that it was not considered worthwhile to attach the debtor’s assets, as the value would be less than R15 000.
She said the CTICC board had been advised that the ANC Western Cape was an independent branch of the party and it was therefore not possible to attach the assets of other branches to recoup the debt.
Meanwhile, the CTICC has battled to get hold of the ANC to resolve the matter. “Although trying virtually on a daily basis to arrange for a meeting with the ANC provincial leadership, the CTICC has been unable to secure such a meeting,” said the CTICC in the report.
The board indicated that it had not taken a formal decision yet on whether to look at attaching the assets of the ANC national office or any funds flowing into any bank accounts.
But DA councillor Bert van Dalen appealed to the ANC caucus in the council to intervene. “This is a black mark against the organisation.”
ANC councillor Danile Khatshwa said: “This is not a good picture but it needs to be sorted by the leaders and not councillors. There are leadership structures in place.”
The CTICC’s spokeswoman said: “The CTICC is following all legal processes to ensure any monies owed to it by any organisation are repaid.”