Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Parties to disclose funding ahead of elections

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Jan 29, 2021

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Durban - The Electoral Commission says that with the Local Government Elections set to take place between August and November this year, political parties will be required to disclose all donations received between April and June this year, ahead of the poll.

This will be in line with the commencement of the Political Party Funding Act from April 1, after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that the new act would come into effect at the beginning of April.

The IEC said that the Act would require all political parties and their corporate donors to declare donations, including donations in kind, above the value of R100 000 per year to the Electoral Commission quarterly.

The act’s regulations have been drafted over the past two years in consultation with political parties, civil society and other stakeholders, and have now been published in the Government Gazette.

IEC deputy chairperson Janet Love said that the commission would then publish those declarations online.

“Furthermore, the commission will table an annual report in Parliament with a record of all donations across the political spectrum .The act also prohibits donations to political parties by foreign governments, agencies or persons, and organs of state and state-owned entities. It also set an annual limit of R15 million as the maximum an individual or organisation may donate annually to an individual party,” Love said.

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said that the successful implementation of the new party funding disclosure framework would rely heavily on self-regulation and compliance.

“We do not want to be the party funding transparency police. We want to be the party funding transparency facilitators,” Mamabolo said.

The commission’s chairperson, Glen Mashinini, said that the regulation of the funding of political parties was a key aspect of all modern multi-party democracies, and the imminent implementation of the new law was one of the most important and far-reaching enhancements to South Africa’s electoral democracy in 25 years.

“Transparency and information is a foundation for free and fair elections, and this act will go a long way in providing information to voters, the media, civil society and all other stakeholders on how political parties are privately funded,” Mashinini said.

Political Bureau

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