Political Party Funding Act a ’victory for voters’
Share this article:
Durban - THE Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is expected to publish the final regulations for the Political Party Funding Act (PPFA) this week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the PPFA into law on Friday.
The PPFA regulates public and private funding of political parties. It also requires that donations be disclosed by parties and donors to the IEC. It will come into effect on April 1, 2021.
The act prohibits donations to parties by foreign governments or agencies, foreign persons or entities, organs of state or state-owned enterprises. Parties may, however, receive funding from foreign entities for training, skills development or policy development.
The act states that no member of a political party may receive a donation other than for political party purposes.
My Vote Counts (MVC) spokesperson Sheilan Clarke said that for a year the MVC had been calling on Ramaphosa to set down a date for the act’s implementation.
Clarke said they wrote to Ramaphosa in December 2020 urgently requesting an indication of when the PPFA would be operational.
Ramaphosa described the act as a positive development for transparency and accountability in South Africa. He said: “The act will have far-reaching consequences for good governance and ethical political activity. It will strengthen the confidence of citizens in the democratic political process and enable them to assert their right to information.
“Through the establishment of the represented political party fund, which provides public funding to parties, and the multi-party democracy fund, which funds parties from private sources, the act seeks to ensure that all represented political parties receive sufficient funds for their work in a fair and equitable manner.”
IEC spokesperson Tumi Sethoba said the implementation of the act coincided with the start of a new financial year for the public sector and political parties.
“The implementation of the act is one of the most important and far-reaching enhancements to our electoral democracy in the past 25 years. It will enhance the credibility of the electoral process,” Sethoba said.
Clarke said the act would improve and deepen citizens’ ability to exercise their political rights from an informed position.
“The regulatory framework the law creates will also serve to clamp down on corruption. It is a ground-breaking law and ... we are also hopeful that its April implementation date will mean that ... we go to the polls to vote soon,” Clarke said.
The Right2Know Campaign said the approval of the act was a victory for voters. “This is a long overdue step. The people of South Africa have a right to know who is bankrolling the political parties and candidates that seek their votes, and how those funds are spent. The lack of transparency created a climate of secrecy and political inequality, which has allowed corruption to thrive, eroded public faith in the electoral system, and undermined the values of the constitution,” it said.