Parties complying with Political Funding Act, says IEC
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Johannesburg - The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says represented political parties have so far complied with registering in line with the Political Funding Act which came into effect in April.
The act is set to shift what voters know ahead of the local government elections in October. The first report on political funding disclosures is expected before this year's elections.
The act says the IEC is mandated to report on political party disclosures quarterly, with the first report required (by law) to be published within the first six months of implementation of the act.
The act will require the disclosure of party donors by political parties and those who make donations. The IEC said it could not confirm when the first public disclosure report will be published.
The commission said political parties, represented in national and provincial legislators, have generally been able to sign-up on the online party funding system. Political parties have also received their allocations in line with the represented political party fund – which forms part of the act.
Ahead of the legislation's implementation, there were concerns that the act would chase away donors or make it harder for political parties to fund raise.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte recently stated, during a post-NEC briefing, that the governing party had lost donors in recent months with donors citing the act's implementation as a reason.
Political analyst Sandile Swana said a group of donors who may have an issue with public disclosure will likely be donors who do not want voters knowing the motives behind their donations.
"The only people who would have a problem with this new law are the people who want to fund these parties for undisclosed reasons. Who want to fund these parties and get other benefits that they do not want to discuss with anyone else," Swana said.
"There may be very specific types of political funders who may be disturbed by the new act, but the act allows so many ways that a serious funder who wants to fund the process of a democracy will still have many avenues of funding political parties."
Swana said South African political parties who struggle to raise funds would have to start galvanising funds from supporters who would be willing to help fund the parties they support.
"South African political parties are used to collecting very big cheques from very large corporations which they award big tenders, which then undermines democracy. This is an opportunity for them to see party supporters as funders," he said.