In South Africa, the ruling ANC party is being criticized by some for charging fees to business leaders who want to meet with government officials. The ANC says its Progressive Business Forum (PBF) is doing nothing wrong and information about its dealings are available to the public.
VOA reporter Delia Robertson is following the story. From Johannesburg, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the PBF.
“This is an organization or club that they formed a year ago they say to foster investment by local businesses and entrepreneurs in South Africa and to improve relationships between the business community and representatives in government. But what it really appears to be is a fund raising mechanism for the ruling party’s campaign war chest,” she says.
The African National Congress has accused the Sunday Times, which reported on the story, of “making news out of nothing at all.”
Robertson says, “That is not absolutely clear in fact that it is nothing at all. The ANC maintains that this forum was established in the open. The meetings are open and topics of discussion are open. Nothing has been done in secret. But what it does do is bring people in the business community together with senior representatives of the government.”
The ANC says, “There is nothing untoward about this. The information provided to PBF members is public information.” Robertson says that there is no evidence of any wrong doing, but adds many think this is not something the ruling part should be doing. That it gives an image of being “sleazy.”