File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA).
File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA).

IEC allocated R1.9bn to political parties - report

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Oct 13, 2019

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The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) pumped more money than ever into political parties before the elections this year when it pushed the allocation from R1.2 billion to R1.9bn for the polls.

The Department of Home Affairs and the IEC’s audited financial statements in Parliament revealed there was a huge increase for the parties.

“Departmental agencies represent the IEC (budget R1.9bn) and Represented Political Parties Fund (budget R149 million) for which the department transfers their budget allocation to them in tranches agreed upon in the Appropriation Bill.

“The allocation was high because of the general elections held in May 2019,” stated the report of the department.

In the annual report of the IEC, chief electoral commissioner of the commission Sy Mamabolo said there had been an increase in the funding of the parties.

“The IEC received R1.9bn for the year under review by way of a Parliamentary grant,” said Mamabolo.

The ANC won the elections in May, with the DA retaining its status as the official opposition, although with a reduced majority.

The EFF increased its support and the IFP showed strong support.

The Freedom Front Plus was one of the parties with a major showing after its spike in support.

The funding of the parties came after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Political Party Funding Bill.

However, the IEC indicated recently it would be not able to implement the new law until the local government elections in 2021.

The law will force political parties to disclose their funders.

This has been a contentious issue for many years, with the ANC finally agreeing to the law that would deal with the funding of parties by individuals and businesses.

The now defunct Institute for Democracy in South Africa had in the past taken Parliament to court to force parties to disclose their funders.

But it lost the legal battle and the ANC agreed to the new law only two years ago.

Smaller parties had also complained that they should be given bigger allocations by the IEC.

The law requires the IEC to allocate funding parties in line with proportional representation in the national and provincial legislatures.

The ANC had always got the biggest allocation because of its majorities in the two spheres of government.

In the annual report, the IEC also said there was an increase in the registration fees from parties.

In 2018 the commission received R21m in registration fees from parties but the figure increased to R37m this year.

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