The IFP has vowed to utilise all measures at its disposal to oppose any attempts by the ANC to review the Political Party Funding Act.
This comes after the ANC resolved at the conclusion of its national conference earlier this month that the act should be reviewed.
The party has been dogged by the embarrassment of not being able to pay its staff, and this led to concerns that the conference would be disrupted by pickets – but this was avoided with all staff being paid weeks before the gathering.
The funding act states that political parties must make a quarterly disclosure to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) of funds of more than R100 000 that they receive. Parties can receive R15 million from an individual or entity in a year.
ANC national executive committee member Joe Maswanganyi, who did a presentation on the resolutions on the finances and sustainability of the party, said while they wanted the act reviewed, the party was not against transparency.
He said there were aspects of the act that were repulsive to some donors.
“The conference has resolved that the state should be able to fund the activities of political parties fully. We have an act of Parliament on political funding. We are looking at reviewing the legislation because, at some stage, although it provides openness, it has unintended consequences. Donors do not want to fund the party because of the act. The state should increase its allocations to political parties. Parliament itself should be able to fund political parties,” Maswanganyi said.
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said the ANC had found itself in an embarrassing situation with the non-payment of staff. “This revealed that the ANC previously had many ways to get money without having to disclose them, and the law, through the funding act, has put them in a corner.
“We will use all mechanisms to ensure the funding act, as discussed by all parties, remains in place.”
Hlabisa said they were adamant that the current funding model had critical measures that would assist in the running of political party affairs.
“This is for the sake of transparency and openness and benefits the people of South Africa,” said Hlabisa.
The DA’s Cilliers Brink said the party would not comment on the ANC’s resolutions.
“Especially when it’s not clear what they want to change. Once there is a substantive policy proposal on the table, we’ll be in a position to respond.”
The Political Party Funding Act came into operation in April 2021 and governs the annual disbursement of public money to political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures through the Represented Political Parties Fund. It also requires that donations be disclosed by parties and donors to the IEC.
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. No member of a political party may receive a donation other than for political party purposes.
My Vote Counts, the Right2Know Campaign, the Helen Suzman Foundation, Defend our Democracy campaign and Open Secrets issued a statement warning that the ANC’s proposals were a threat to the country’s democracy.