The land lines to ANC offices in five of the nine provinces have been disconnected by Telkom due to non-payment of bills.
Calls to the Telkom landline contact numbers for provincial offices displayed on the ANC website revealed that offices in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State have been disconnected.
Enquiries at Telkom revealed that all these offices had not paid their bills.
The Western Cape ANC office owes Telkom R146 043.94. It could not be established how much the other provincial offices owe the communications parastatal.
The disconnection of the telephone lines by Telkom does not seem to have been communicated to the branches and regional offices.
Additionally, the contact number displayed on the ANC’s website for the Western Cape ANC Youth League goes through to a taxi company in Seapoint, Cape Town. This has been the case for over a year despite the company Sea Point Original Radio Taxis (SPORT) having tried to get the ANC to change the listed number.
Investigations showed that the Western Cape ANC office last made a payment to Telkom a year ago, in May 2011, of R2 770. Telkom eventually disconnected their line on January 15 this year.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, frustrated staff at the Western Cape provincial office said the bill escalated to over R100 000 because ANC members were using the lines for personal reasons.
The source said it was frustrating to see senior members allowing friends to make telephone calls.
“We have not been using the phones since the beginning of the year. A resolution by the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) was that the phones should stay disconnected as it was evident that there was no control on phone usage and the bills were increasing monthly,” said a senior provincial office bearer.
Another office bearer who requested their name be withheld said the lack of land lines was frustrating.
“We are forced to use our cellular phones when contacting a member and what is worse is that the party does not reimburse the amount used by a member when calling for party businesses,” said the source.
West Cape News has reliably learnt that the national ANC office was alerted to the disconnection of the lines but said the PEC should manage the problem.
However, national ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said he was “not aware” of the cutting off of phones by Telkom.
When asked how the national office communicates with the provincial office if the telephone was cut off, Khoza said “we make use of our cells (cellular phones). No ANC member is office bound as they are always out working for the organization.”
He directed all further queries to Western Cape Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile.
Mjongile did not deny or confirm that Telkom had disconnected their telephone lines. He would only say the provincial office was “busy changing lines”.
“Sorry chief, there is no story here. You are fishing for something that is not there Comrade. Stop fishing for news that is not there,” said Mjongile.
Asked how the ANC was communicating within itself Mjongile said: “We are working very well and we contact one another via our cellphones. When our members want to reach us they do so.”
Amanda Mangaliso, 34, who is an ordinary member of the ANC at ward 34, said she has been trying to get hold of the ANC provincial office without success. She said she applied for a membership card late last year and was being “given the run around” at her branch and had tried calling the provincial head office to find a solution.
“The (telephone) numbers are not working. I have been attempting to call them (Provincial office) and thought it was engaged but realized later that the number does not exist,” said Mangaliso.