Former DA leader and Cape Town Mayor, Patricia De Lille has announced that she will be launching her own political party in the coming days. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN - Former DA leader and Cape Town Mayor, Patricia De Lille has announced that she will be launching her own political party in the coming days. 

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), any party that wants to participate in an election must register with the IEC. 

De Lille's new party may choose to register at a national level, which will allow the party to contest elections of the National Assembly, provincial legislatures and all municipal councils.

However, De Lille may choose to register only at municipal level for a particular municipality(/ies). In this case, the party will then only be allowed to contest municipal elections for those particular municipal councils stated in the registration application. 

National level registration

To register to contest all elections (National level), De Lille must submit:

An application for registration, fully completed; 

The name (not more than 60 letters) and abbreviated name (not more than eight letters) of the party; 

A Copy of the party’s Constitution; 

A Deed of Foundation signed by 500 registered voters who support the founding of the party; 

Two sets of party logo/symbol in colour; 

R500 registration fee; and 

a hard copy of the Government Gazette in which De Lille's notice appears.

Municipal level registration

To register to contest elections in only a specific municipality/ies (Municipal level), De Lille must submit:

An application for registration, fully completed; 

A Copy of the party’s Constitution; 

A Deed of Foundation signed by 100 registered voters who support the founding of the party; 

Two sets of party logo/symbol in colour; 

R200 registration fee per municipality; and 

A party applying for registration at Municipal level must place a Notice in a local newspaper, and must submit proof of such publication (hard copy of the newspaper page)

Party Funding

The IEC also notes that the Electoral Commission is responsible for managing the Represented Political Parties' Fund, which provides funding for political parties participating in Parliament and provincial legislatures.

What sort of political party funding is permitted in South Africa?

Both public (by the State) and private funding (from other sources) are allowed.

With respect to State funding, the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 103 of 1997 governs the eligibility of parties and the allocations they receive from the Represented Political Parties’ Fund.

Any political party may also obtain funds from its members and from other sources, such as business (both local and foreign) and civil society groupings.

Financial contributions given to parties are known as direct funding, while contributions in kind (e.g. voluntary work or free office space, advertising, equipment or printing facilities) are known as indirect funding.

How does a party obtain public funding?

A political party is entitled to an allocation from the Represented Political Parties’ Fund for any financial year that it is represented in the National Assembly or in any provincial legislature, or both in the National Assembly and in any provincial legislature. 

In other words, no allocations are made from the Fund to political parties which are represented in municipal councils only (nor to those which have no public representatives at all).

For what purposes may a party use its allocation from the represented Political Parties’ Fund?

Section 5(1)(b) of the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act said that the allocation may be used “for any purposes compatible with [the party’s] functioning as a political party in a modern democracy”, and that these include:

the development of the political will of people (i.e. allowing the political leadership  to choose)

bringing the party’s influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion

inspiring and furthering political education

promoting active participation by individual citizens in political life (i.e. getting people involved)

exercising an influence on political trends

ensuring continuous, vital links between the people and organs of state (i.e. developing the interface between citizens and public administration)

A party must account for the money allocated to it under these classifications: personnel expenditure, accommodation, travel expenses, arrangement of meetings and rallies, administration, and promotions and publications.

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