All in a day’s work at provincial party headquarters

“People drop all those social problems here, and you must try to do something to help”

The ANC provincial headquarters in King William’s Town is not just the place where government deployees account – for some it is the last beacon of hope when every sphere of government has failed them.

This is according to ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane in a recent interview with Weekend Post at Calata House.

He had just finished a meeting with representatives of the South African National Taxi Association Council (Santaco), who were turning to him for help after failing to get any joy from transport MEC Weziwe Tikana.

“Sometimes they don’t derive joy from those who are in government.

“They might have gone to the premier or the MEC but nothing has come from their efforts and now they are here for intervention,” he said.

He said he would later facilitate a meeting between the MEC and Santaco.

This is a typical day at Calata House.

As the Weekend Post team interviewed Mabuyane, two men had been seated outside his office for hours, eager for an audience with “nobhala”, as he is fondly known.

They, too, had a problem and needed his help to resolve it.

Nestled near the headquarters of COPE and the EFF in one of King William’s Town busiest streets, the ANC’s centre of power has a staff complement of 52 people, excluding volunteers.

Mabuyane said there was no such thing as a typical day at the “revolutionary” house, with residents from all walks of life visiting the house for assistance on an array of issues.

“Here, you don’t come because you have made an appointment.

“Sometimes people are walking by and they see the ANC flag and they come in and tell us they are from Cape Town and don’t have money to go back home.

“People drop all those social problems here, and when they are here you must try to do something to help them. Others are frustrated by government so they come here.”

Inside the double-storey building that the party has been occupying since 2009 are rooms branded in ANC colours – from the clock in the room to the green, black and yellow pot plants in the waiting room.

The boardroom and offices upstairs are plushly furnished and decorated.

The artwork on the walls pays tribute to the party’s past presidents as well the provincial top five.

Mabuyane said Mondays were ANC days at Calata House as that was when leaders of the party in the province met to discuss all issues related to the party and government.

They also monitor the government’s implementation of ANC policies.

Mabuyane said Calata House got its money from party political funding and that it was not enough as most of it was depleted on transport and accommodation costs.

He refused to disclose the amount.

“A lot of our budget goes to political education, salaries, transport, accommodation, conferences and elections. Some of our money also comes from fundraising.

“We get allocations annually from the Bhisho legislature, as we are allocated budget. In the ANC we can’t operate with a budget of about R15-million.

“We need about R100-million if we want to fully fund activities; we are always under-funded,” he said.

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