DA, ANC and ActionSA only political parties to declare donations above the R100 000 threshold
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Only three political parties – the ANC, DA and ActionSA – met the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s threshold to declare their donations received from donors.
The total value of these declared donations amounted to a little over R30 million.
The ANC declared individual donations received of R10 million and the DA declared R15 million. ActionSA declared total direct donations amounting to R3 million.
These figures were revealed by the IEC during a media briefing where the Commission published its first quarterly report since the implementation of the Political Party Funding Act.
The Commission had six months within which to publicly issue its First Party Funding Disclosure Report.
However, the IEC’s vice chairperson Janet Love said that in the interests of openness and transparency, which were the primary objective of the Act, the Commission had expedited the processing of the report enabling the release on Thursday.
The Act makes it peremptory for all registered political parties to disclose to the Commission all donations above the R100 000 threshold in a year. Regarding the upper end of the threshold, no donations may be made by a single donor above R 15 million in a year.
Presenting the report further, Love said of the submissions received, the DA and ActionSA declared donations in-kind to the total value of R 855 000.
This, she said, was made up of R 499 595 for the DA and R356 090 for ActionSA.
Two foreign entities made direct donations to a political party, which was the DA, during this period.
Love added that some donors did not submit their declarations via the online portal. In such cases, proof of donation in the form of bank deposit or electronic funds transfer (EFT) slips and declarations that were made from the political parties’ side were used to confirm the source of such funds, she said.
“The Commission will look into ways of making it less cumbersome for donors to submit declarations so as not to inadvertently discourage direct donations,” Love said.
The Commission also made an appeal to the South African public and corporates alike, to open their purses and support multi-party democracy. Love said the sustainability of the Multi-Party Democracy Fund was a critical step towards a healthy democracy.
The IEC reported that in the first quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, the Fund received a single contribution from a member of the public, named Paul Malcolm Graham. He made a contribution of R2 000 and this remains the only contribution received.
Love said the IEC was concerned about the lack of donations to the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, but added that the IEC believed part of the reason for the lack of support was “the lack of understanding how the funds works or that the fund is even in existence”.
This new Multi-party Democracy Fund can be used as an avenue for private donors who wish to donate towards political parties in general and not one individual party. Donors would be allowed to apply to the commission not to publicly disclose their identity.
The fund can also receive money from private donations, whether in or outside the country. The commission may not receive any money through this fund from foreign organs of state, state-owned enterprises and proceeds of crime.