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Pretoria - The 2014 election campaigning was tough: many political parties exceeded their public allocations from the national coffers, although none so more than Cope, the biggest May 7 loser, which now finds itself some R6 million in the red.
This emerges in the annual report of the Represented Political Parties Fund, administered by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). It disburses public monies allocated on the basis of representation in Parliament and the nine provincial legislatures to help political parties with operations, administration, promotions, staff and the like. It was tabled in Parliament this week as the deadline for submissions of annual report looms at the end of the month.
Unlike in other years, only the ANC, Azapo and the PAC had some cash left in the kitty.
The DA clocked up a deficit of more than R927 000 between the fund allocation and expenditure, the IFP recorded a deficit of R423 408 and the ACDP went R426 153 over its fund allocation.
A total of R114 811 165 of public monies was available from the fund in the 2013/14 financial year, shared between 14 parties and paid out in four tranches. The ANC received the lion’s share at over R71.73 million for its 556 legislators countrywide, followed by DA’s R18.95m for its 132 national and provincial public representatives. Cope received R10.73m for its 66 and the IFP R5.2m for 37 MPs and MPLs.
Sole African People’s Convention MP Themba Godi, the chairman of Parliament’s public spending watchdog - the standing committee on public accounts - received R124 494.04, and other political parties fall somewhere in-between.
The hotly contested May 7 elections meant political parties had to dig into their own pockets, but the Represented Political Parties Fund allocations nevertheless proved crucial. The ANC’s promotions and publications spend was R10.8m in the first three months of 2014 to the end of the financial year at March 31. In contrast, it spent a mere R58 321 on promotions and publications throughout the nine months of the financial year in 2013. Of the total amount, R10.5m were spent on advertisements.
The ANC spends most of its allocation on salaries, or R57.7m, although it did not specify how much of that went on pension and medical aid, and R2.2m on administration, including cleaning (R561 489) and security services (R415 859). Still, it managed to keep R93 534 unspent at the end of the financial year.
In contrast Cope’s financial statements reflect expenditure of R16.9m against its income of R10.73m from the fund as election campaigning dovetailed with a national conferences. Of its public allocations R7.8m went to promotions and publications and R5.8m on arranging meetings and rallies in the three months to financial year end, compared to just over R1m and R3.8m in 2013.
The Freedom Front Plus increased its promotions expenditure tenfold in the first three months of 2014, to just over R260 000 from around R26 000, while ACDP doubled its promotions expenditure in the three months of 2014 to just over R444 000. Both parties returned to Parliament with the same number of MPs - four and three respectively - after the May elections.
The DA, which instead of promotions increased its travel expenditure to R2.9m in the three months in 2014, against R2.2m from the fund spent on travel during the other nine months of the 2013/14 financial year. The DA’s personnel expenditure stood at R11.18m, plus some R900 000 spent on pension and medical funds.
Much to the dissatisfaction of the smaller parties, 90 percent of the Represented Political Parties Fund is allocated on the strength of representation, and just 10 percent allocated equally between all represented political parties.