ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/Independent Media
Johannesburg - The ANC in Parliament has called for the regulation of party funding, saying parties must disclose their funders.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said on Thursday their call was in line with the ANC resolution taken at the Polokwane conference in 2007.

He said the regulation of party funding would block people with vested interests from influencing parties - and in this way working against the advancement of democracy.

Mthembu said they wanted an ad hoc committee to be established soon - with a deadline to complete its work by the end of the year.

The committee will also be tasked with looking at the model of funding for parties represented in Parliament.

The current system is based on proportional representation, with the ANC getting the biggest slice of the R150 million allocated by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to parties.

Mthembu said this was a small amount to be split between 13 parties represented in Parliament.

He said any new system would require the National Assembly to address the fact that the funding of parties by private donors remains unregulated.

“Whatever model the ad hoc committee comes up with, such public funding must be adequate,” he said.

Parliament was taken to court by the now defunct Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) to force parties to disclose their private donors, but it lost the case twice in the early 2000s.

Another NGO, My Vote Counts, has taken Parliament to the Western Cape High Court, to get parties to disclose their funders and the matter is due to be heard soon.

Mthembu said they wanted this matter to be finalised as soon as possible. He said it was important that parties are transparent about who funds them.

“The issue is not public funding, but throwing in transparency about where do we get additional funding. This must be declared so that the people of the country know where we get our funding from, or whether this source of funding is not influencing us adversely in our democratic project,” said Mthembu.

He said the ANC would make its own submission in the ad hoc committee in support of the disclosure of private donors.

“We must regulate party funding. Parties in Parliament must disclose their sources of funding,” he said.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said he fully supported the proposal. However, he called on the ANC to come clean on their funding by private donors including Chancellor House.

He believed it highly unlikely that the ANC would be able to disclose its funders.

He said they supported the establishment of the ad hoc committee to look at the mechanism of party funding.

Steve Swart of the ACDP said they supported moves to make funding of parties in Parliament equitable. He said parties must be supported on a 50/50 basis.

“We support all attempts to make party funding more equitable to make the playing ground level,” he said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said they have been calling for the disclosure of private funding since 1999.

He said they wanted a draft bill soon to deal with the matter.

They also welcomed the change of the formula to fund parties in Parliament by the IEC and to make it more equitable. He said all the parties must get the same money from the public purse.

The Star