ANC, DA agree on naming party funders

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iol news pic Stone Sizani INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS ANC chief whip Stone Sizani Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The ANC will not oppose a Constitutional Court ruling compelling the party and other political parties to disclose who their private funders are.

The DA is also open to the idea of political party funding transparency, but expressed reservations over the implications disclosures could have on the funders.

Rights organisation My Vote Counts has asked the court to compel Parliament to adopt laws forcing all parties to disclose funders’ identities.

 

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said the party would welcome such a ruling.

He said the ANC in Parliament had discussed the funding matter at its weekend caucus meeting.

My Vote Counts’ legal challenge has thrust the funding debate back into the spotlight.

In its founding affidavit, My Vote Counts director Axolile Notywala argues that a citizen’s constitutional right to vote is hindered by the “absence of adequate and accurate information about each party's likely loyalties”.

The court papers cite political parties, the presiding officers of both Houses of Parliament, President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Michael Masutha as respondents.

My Vote Counts has been campaigning for a couple of years for electoral and comprehensive political party-funding reform.

“Let me go back to transparency of funding, yes the ANC following Kgalema Motlanthe, when he was secretary general of the ANC, agreed that there is a necessity for transparency in the funding that political parties get. That is why we are surprised that we are cited as a respondent in that case of those three young people (My Vote Counts).

“But we will not oppose that case, we will abide by the decision of the court because we believe the ANC is correct still to make sure that transparency has been achieved in that regard,” said Sizani.

On political party funding from the IEC, which gives funding based on the proportion or size of the party, Sizani said the ANC needed more money.

He said one had to take into account that the ANC also had a responsibility to all members of other smaller parties

.

In terms of Parliament’s policy on political parties allowances specifically, the two allowances payable are the constituency allowance and a party leadership allowance.

For the 2014/2015 financial year the constituency allowance is R562 482 per representative in the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

 

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said his party had always been open to any process that allowed for transparency.

“The difficulty is those who are funding opposition parties can generally suffer the consequences if they trade with government,” said Maimane.

“So the issue here isn’t about the lack of transparency. The issue is in fact about ensuring that when a funder funds a political party they are not penalised.”

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