While the ANC has become more vigilant after the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, it is not shutting its doors on donors, treasurer general Paul Mashatile says.
"I work on the basis that anybody who says: 'I run a legitimate business. I want to be in the ANC event,' must be given the benefit of the doubt," he said.
He spoke to News24 ahead of a walkabout at Durban City Hall and said his team was working harder to check the profiles of people wanting to buy tables at the party's annual gala dinner, which is set to take place on Friday.
Last year, not only were some of the party's leaders implicated in an explosive report on the collapse of VBS bank, but it also emerged that the governing party received donations and had some of its bills settled with VBS money.
The report by advocate Terry Motau, titled The Great Bank Heist, found that 53 people and entities benefited to the tune of about R2bn from the now collapsed bank.
Mashatile confirmed in November 2018 that the ANC received a R2m donation from the bank's majority shareholder, Vele Investments, which was used to pay a service provider on behalf of the party.
He also confirmed that Vele bought a table for R250 000 through the party's Progressive Business Forum at a gala dinner held by the ANC during its January 8 birthday celebrations in East London.
"We are sifting as much as we can, but when you invite people to an event like a gala dinner, they have to buy a table. You don't ask them whether they are crooks or not, because that's not your job," said Mashatile.
However, he added that if the party found that donations were ill-obtained, it would reject the offer or return it.
"At the moment, let people come, let business people come, but a bulk of them will not be crooks," he insisted.
Mashatile said information, such as names and banking details of potential donors, would be scrutinised.
Although he refused to discuss how much money the ANC spent on a week of activities, birthday celebrations and the manifesto rally at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, he said "the event is well budgeted for".
ANC well received by communities
Mashatile, who has visited areas such as Newcastle and Stanger, raised concerns about persistent problems, such as unemployment and pit latrines in the region.
However, he said some appreciated that the ANC was working on improving the economy and creating jobs.
"What I picked up in Newcastle, there was an issue of [unemployment] [and] still a lot of challenges on the ground. But they actually appreciate the fact that at the moment, the president is focusing on youth unemployment," he told News24.
Mashatile added: "The challenge of implementation is real and that is what we are addressing. In fact, in this term that is going to be our focus: implementation, we have good policies, we have good plans, we have to push implementation."
He later joined a group of young ANC supporters for a walkabout in the city centre.