FILE - The messages on the political parties election campaign posters are varied. File picture Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)
FILE - The messages on the political parties election campaign posters are varied. File picture Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)

Funders of political parties revealed by the IEC

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG: Political campaigns come with a massive price tag, but have you ever wondered who are the funders behind the loud-hailing, promise-makers?

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has, for the first time, revealed those funders behind the political parties.

The IEC’s declaration report showed the ANC has received a total of R10.7 million in significant donations since April this year, with the largest individual sum coming from United Manganese of Kalahari – the fourth largest producer of Manganese in SA.

This privately-owned company dropped a mammoth R5 million into the ANC’s coffers, followed by Majestic Silver Trading Company that donated R2.5 million in May. Nonkwelo Investments made a R2 million donation in April.

Two individuals, Mr L Sibiya and Cedric Ntombela, made their own donations to the ANC, amounting to R620 000 and R500 000, respectively.

Tyeks Security donated R100 000 in April.

The DA declared a total of R15.98 million from their supporters.

But, the report revealed that majority of the funding came from one Mary Slack, who dished out a whopping R15 million to the party.

More prominently known as Mary Opppenheimer-Slack, she runs the family’s memorial trust and is one of the co-founders of Wiphold – the first female-controlled company to list on the JSE.

Jacques Plaut, a fund manager at Allan Gray, made a donation of R100 000; while the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom made two donations. They donated R200 177 in May and R299 418 in June this year. The Foundation offers political education in Germany and abroad.

The DA also received funding from the Danish Liberal Democracy Programme to the amount of R184 156.

The Danish Liberal Democracy Programme was established by the liberal party of Denmark, Venstre, with the aim to promote democracy in developing countries such as Kenya and South Africa.

Newly-formed party led by former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba ActionSA kept up with the big parties.

Durban-born businessman Martin Moshal made the biggest contribution to the new kid on the block, with R2.5million directly into its coffers in June. Moshal is a venture capital investor, and has been involved in several technology and real estate investments and start ups.

The Brahmin Hills Propriety donated R350 000, while Style Eyes of California and Black Like Me were the two companies that invested in kind to the party. The Coalition on Political Party Funding, a civil society coalition, welcomed the IEC’s report on political party funding disclosures earlier on Thursday.

“This is a historic moment in our young democracy. It is the first time the public has some access to how political parties are funded. The act has the potential to provide more insight on the potential influence by private money,” the coalition said.

It did raise concerns that more than 78% of registered political parties chose to ignore the legislation and reminders from the IEC.

“We have requested that the IEC provide us with a list of these political parties,” said the coalition.

It also supported the IEC’s call for more donations to be made to the Multi-Party Democracy Fund, which individuals can donate to.

The IEC is mandated to disperse funds from the MPDF to political parties, only once it has reached R1 million, but it received a single donation of R2 000 so far.

Meanwhile, the IEC has revealed that 502 parties have not disclosed their funders, as required by new Act.

It said it has since written to 108 out of the 502 parties, instructing them to comply and has received responses

It is still not clear what action will be taken against parties who failed to declare.

Political Bureau

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