President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: ANA

* This story has been updated

Cape Town - Civil society organisations have warned that the signing into law of the Political Party Funding Bill was late for the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to prepare for its implementation during this year’s elections.

My Vote Counts and the Right2Know campaign said on Wednesday the delay by President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the Bill into law would not give enough time to the IEC to put its systems in place.

They said despite pleas with Ramaphosa to sign it last November, the president had failed and has only done it now.

The Bill will force parties to disclose their funders.

My Vote Counts said it seemed the bill will have no impact on the elections in May. It said they wanted Ramaphosa to give the IEC six months to prepare for its systems.

“This delay means that the South African electorate will, once again, go to the polls without access to this most crucial piece of information. It seems likely that this will only happen after the elections and is a genuine missed opportunity to deepen our democracy,” said the organisation.

It added that voters have a right to know who funds their parties.

The R2K also warned that the delay would not allow for the implementation of the law in time for the elections in May.

It said they have been campaigning for the disclosure of the funders of parties, and the Bill was the outcome of that pressure.

“However, we are disappointed that this comes more than five months since My Vote Counts and the R2K campaign called on Ramaphosa to sign the bill when it was already on his desk,” said R2K.

“The delay ensures that the law’s transparency clauses will not be implemented before the 2019 national elections. Once again, political parties will receive millions of rands from secret sources to campaign for our votes without having to account for one cent,” said R2K.  

The DA also said they supported the bill with misgivings.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said there was widespread corruption but there was no action from law enforcement agencies.

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture has been rocked by revelations of alleged corruption in Bosasa involving senior ANC figures.

IFP treasurer-general Narend Singh said with the Bosasa revelations and state capture they hope more information will be revealed.

He said the bill will level the playing fields.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Rev. Kenneth Meshoe said the bill will clamp down on corruption between dodgy characters and other parties.

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