A wider view of the IEC National Results Operations Centre in Pretoria.

Parliament - The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) on Thursday asked MPs to consider various options regarding political party funding because it was vital to free and fair elections.

Briefing Parliament's ad hoc committee on the funding of political parties, IEC deputy chairperson, Terry Tselane, said it may be necessary to change the funding model of political parties.

Tselane said the current arrangement regarding public funding benefitted larger political parties represented in Parliament and provincial legislatures. It excluded smaller parties not represented and also did not include local government. 

By including smaller parties in the arrangement, the Constitutional imperative of a multi-party democracy would be promoted. 

In terms of private funding, he asked MPs to consider "banning or setting strict limits" on foreign funding.

The IEC also supported additional allocations to parties in election years to specifically support campaigning.

Tax incentives were also mooted for those donating to political parties.

Funding, Tselane said, should be regulated and here transparency was key.

"There's got to be annual reporting and disclosure of party and candidate funding," he said.

The disclosures should apply to both political parties and the organisations or individuals who make the donations.

The hearings are expected to continue on Friday.

African News Agency